PUKALANI - A Borders book drive hauled in more than 900 books valued at more than $9,000 for Pukalani Elementary School.
"To me it's overwhelming," Pukalani Elementary Librarian Diana Lyons said. "This was so incredible."
Borders Books Music Movies & Cafe in the Maui Marketplace sponsored the book drive benefiting Pukalani Elementary from Aug. 1 to Sept. 14. Customers - both local residents and visitors - were offered the chance to purchase books for the school each time they bought items at the store.
DIANA LYONS photo
Student Council officers and representatives at Pukalani Elementary School were on hand for a delivery of more than 900 books valued at a little over $9,000 donated for their campus library and classrooms. They are (back row, from left) Jacob Espania, Kaleo Deguilmo, Nicholas Stevenson, (front row, from left) Alex Abraham, Kai Kealoha, Claire Gragas, Preston Ito and Michelle Nakashima.
Borders provided customers with a book wish list that Lyons filled out. Customers could then choose to spend as little as $3.99 and as much as $30 per item.
Many of the books will be shelved in the Pukalani Elementary library, but others will be distributed in the classrooms. "All of the kids will benefit from this," Lyons said.
The books purchased in the book drive cover a wide range of fiction and nonfiction for kindergarten through 5th-grade. There are stories by Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle, reference items such as dictionaries and almanacs, and specific subject books including Hawaiian history.
Lyons said the donation comes at a time when her own library book budget was cut in half to $1,000 for this school year. "This was so nice, I thought we would get a couple hundred books with the economy being so bad. We'd really be happy with anything we could get, and now it's just so overwhelming," she said.
The books - 922 to be exact - were delivered Friday by Borders General Manager Kris Arnett. "We know how badly schools need new, fresh books. We think this is how we can make the biggest difference in our community," Arnett said.
Borders has had two other book drives - the first one for Wailuku Elementary School about a year and a half ago collected 531 books, and then earlier this spring, Kahului Elementary School's drive garnered approximately 1,300 books.
Arnett said Borders selects the beneficiaries - either a nonprofit organization or a public school.
Pukalani Elementary's student council officers and representatives were on hand to receive the donated items last week. Lyons said she was happy and grateful for support from both the community and visitors who shop at Borders.
"It shows the universal appreciation of how important reading and books are to people. It's wonderful to see," she said.
Arnett said her staff donates books to the drive as well. She said she gets tremendous rewards from seeing customers respond so positively to the book drive. Some of them have been known to take several minutes before deciding which book they'll buy for the school benefiting from the drive.
"Some people really think about what they want to give. . . . It's the community who donates that makes this happen; we're just facilitating that," Arnett said.
* Claudine San Nicolas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.