To the Editor:
As the recent donor of nearly two hundred children's and young adult works of fiction and non-fiction to the Traer Public School libraries, I would like to add a bit of information about the reason for the gift. While I was the Head of the Brain Education Library at Washington State University, I had the honor of being nominated to and selected for the 2010 Newbery Award Committee. The committee consisted of approximately fifteen members representing school, public, and college and university libraries from all over the country. Together, we read, analyzed, discussed, and evaluated each of the nominated books with the goal of selecting the best piece of children's literature published in the United States during 2009. As a member of the Newbery Award Committee, I had the privilege or receiving copies of each book under consideration. One of the caveats of being a member is that we not profit in any way from the books, but either keep them or donate them to a worthy recipient.
I thought long and hard about what to do with the books. I first considered donating them to a local public library, but discovered that many of the books might be sold at a book sale. I also nearly donated them to an independent school. However, for some reason I still hesitated. Then, out of the blue, I had a conversation with Brenda Jensen, the newly appointed librarian and TAG coordinator for the North Tama Schools. Brenda painted a vivid and passionate picture of the voracious young readers in Traer and the need for updated materials in the school libraries. I told her that above all, I wanted to be sure that the books would be well used by children and youth and contribute to their growth, literacy, and reading pleasure. As a result of our conversations, I made the decision to donate my Newbery collection to your school system.
I sincerely hope that the school community continues to enjoy the books in the years to come. I hope to visit Traer someday soon to see your library and talk with your students. Above all, I hope that you appreciate Ms. Jensen, the librarian who did such a good job of convincing me that Traer was the right place to let my Newbery collection take root. Sincerely,