ODA’s Library Pays it Forward

Reevaluating the collection in ODA's Savidge-Bowers Library created an opportunity for some appreciative institutions. To make the print collection more relevant to our current needs and to make room for new titles, Director of Library Services Miss Alyssa Mandel spent most of the fall and winter evaluating the books and deciding what to keep and what to purge.
More than a thousand books across all subject areas were taken off the shelves, leaving a strong collection that supports our current curriculum, pleasure reading, and personal research, and leaves room for new fiction and nonfiction resources.

But where did those thousand books go? Finding new homes for old books is a constant problem; anyone who has KonMari’d his or her house knows that local thrift shops are bursting at the seams and Friends of the Library has taken all they can hold. Miss Mandel reached out to other school libraries and found three that were eager for our discarded books.

There are needy schools across the State of Florida, and Central Charter School in Lauderdale Lakes expressed a wish for books for its students. Ms. Lisa Edwards, Central Charter’s middle school reading teacher, was thrilled to receive books at all reading levels for students as well as titles related to professional development for teachers. Bethune Cookman University, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, received several dozen cartons of books of history and literary criticism. Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) received books about American history, fiction for middle-grade and high school readers, and poetry.

“Watching my student volunteers unpack the books to ready them for cataloging has been like watching kids on Christmas morning,” said Katie Archambault, Director of the CGLA. “They have thrilled over the scientific encyclopedias, the African-American history, the poetry, and the popular fiction. If a book's value is derived from the way in which it is used, please know that this collection is invaluable to us. It will enrich existing curriculum and hopefully inspire new assignments, giving our students a true college research experience in which the best of the print and digital world are accessible to them.”

Some books simply had nowhere to go, such as outdated science books or books too damaged by wear or water to be useful for readers. These were donated to the art department to be turned into sculptures or altered-book art, in which the pages are colored, cut, shaped, folded, or otherwise creatively changed to make something completely new. Interested in making some altered-book art of your own but don’t know where to start? “Actually . . .” said Miss Mandel, “I have a book for that! Come in and check it out. I might even have a spare discarded book so you can get started right away.”

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