The Curley K-8 School's library was forced to close in 2012 due to budget cuts, but a book drive led by the Curley Library Committee that began 18 months ago, will lead to the library reopening in February.
The Curley Library Committee has actually raised an astonishing $97,000 during the last 18 months, said Pam Yosca, a parent of two Curley School students, who also happens to be a librarian (not in Boston Public Schools).
"Donations of note include a JP resident who saw the 'Bring back the Curley Library' sign in the school yard, and expressed interest in donating $10,000, if we would design a matching fundraising campaign and market it throughout JP, not just within the Curley community," said Yosca to Jamaica Plain News. "We launched that in late June, to great success -- many JP residents contributed, often with notes citing their support for library services in BPS, or with dismay that the Curley libraries were shuttered."
The Curley Library Committee was formed in the fall of 2015 when Principal Katie Grassa asked a group of teachers and parents to explore the possibility of reopening one central library to replace the school's two closed libraries. Yosca and fellow Curley School parent Ashely Rao are co-chairs of the library committee, but Yosca said reopening the library has been a group effort supported by faculty, staff, parents, the director of Boston Public School libraries and volunteers.
Sadly, Yosca said the library committee is only addressing the lack of a library at the Curley School, but she added there is a lack of library services throughout BPS.
In December the Boston Book Festival donated books to the Curley School after the festival conducted a citywide application process, which encouraged teachers, parents, and librarian staff to say how their school would benefit from book donations and funds. And earlier this month organizers of the Boston Book Festival visited the school to drop off books thanks to the “Shelf Help” efforts. Festival organizers contacted bookstores, publishers and citizens to donate books to the school. Curley School students checked out the donations, which included award-winning children's books from the American Library Association's Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards programs. As part of the Boston Book Festival's efforts the school also received a check for more than $5,500 from the Shah Family Foundation for buying more books to restock the library's shelves.
In preparation of opening in February, the school hired a library paraprofessional in June. Since the beginning of this school year the paraprofessional has worked with a team of volunteers to organize books from the old Curley libraries. New books and resources have been purchased, as well as shelving and furniture. And the new library is also being painted in the coming weeks and carpeted so it will be ready for its grand opening.
This article was updated December 27, 2017 with new information provided to Jamaica Plain News.