One of Annette Gladstone’s fondest childhood memories was spending time in the school library. Now, as the owner of an Atwater Village pre school, Gladstone wants to make sure that the current generation of students also get to enjoy a school library. She has launched an ambitious fundraiser to keep the school library at Atwater Elementary open this year. The school, like others across L.A. Unified, is being forced to close or dramatically cut back library hours after some deep budget cuts.
Gladstone, working through the nonprofit Friends of Atwater Elementary group, is now seeking to raise $15,000 online that would keep library staff on the job for the school year. Otherwise, there would be no funding after Sept. 23, she said.
School principal Charles Smith said the library aide whose job will be eliminated after Sept. 23 currently keeps the library open three hours a day, five-days a week. The aide restocks books, tells stories to the students and works on other chores.
In addition to the $15,000, Gladstone wants to raise $30,000 to renovate the existing library. As of this afternoon, only $455 had been pledged. What happens if the online fundraiser featuring a video of Atwater students does not work? “I like to think positive,” said Gladstone, who plans to approach neighborhood businesses for support. “I’m going to play this video over and over again until we get that money. It just has to be done. ”