By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
“Give a child a book, she’ll be happy. Give a child a library, she’ll be literate,” —that’s the motto of Access Books, a nonprofit organization working to build new libraries in the hundreds of low-income elementary schools around California.
So when Palisadian Girl Scouts Troops 12865 and 6105 first learned about Access Books, the middle school reading enthusiasts decided to take action by conducting a book drive that would later create a brand new library at Jefferson Elementary School in Inglewood.
Spearheaded by Girl Scout cadet Sofia Prestine, along with troopmates Eleanor Gee, Melanie Papadopoulos, Lulu Prestine and Quinn Quigley, the girls spent two months collecting over 2,400 books to rouse the minds of next year’s kindergarten through fifth-grade readers.
“It was really exciting to see all of the books piled up and ready to go to their new home,” Prestine told the Palisadian-Post. “We were hoping to collect 2,000 books, so it’s pretty cool that we were able to bring in even more than we had expected.”
On May 27, the girls assembled at Jefferson to sort the books by alphabet and place them in their appropriate location.
The girls’ troop-mother Claudia Romero Prestine told the Post that, because the original space wasn’t large enough to contain all the new books, the school decided to create a second library for STEM studies.
“How great is that?” Prestine inquired. “Instead of one library, the school got two libraries and there were even leftover books to go in each classroom.”
After sorting the lot, the young philanthropists helped a muralist paint the library’s walls with quotes and whimsical depictions of beloved children’s book authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Jeff Kinney and Jacqueline Woodson.
Sofia, who just wrapped up her eighth-grade year at St. Paul Catholic School, said she plans to continue her work with the Girl Scouts despite her new role as fall’s incoming freshman at Louisville High School in Woodland Hills.
“We definitely want to continue doing book drives in the future,” Prestine said. “As we brought in the dozens of boxes into the school, we got to watch some of the younger students fall over with excitement––that was just the best feeling in the world.”
In Pacific Palisades, the Girl Scouts aren’t the only ones who have placed building new libraries at the top of their to-do list.
Also paired up with Access Books is The Palisades Rotary Club, who are currently holding a book drive of their own.
All new or gently used, age-appropriate books may be left in the box on the front porch at Aldersgate Retreat Center, at 925 Haverford Ave., or at Holly Davis’ Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office, at 15101 Sunset Blvd.