Cooking Up Support for Library Improvements

Jack Swanson kept busy at the griddle

Chatting was far down the list of priorities for Jack Swanson on a recent Saturday morning.

The retired Kent City Community Schools principal/teacher arrived at 7 a.m. so he could flip pancakes and French toast on a hot griddle inside the high school cafeteria’s kitchen.

He was joined by 11 other members of the Casnovia/Kent City Lion’s Club chapter who fried bacon, grilled sausage and scrambled eggs as part of the Breakfast for Books fundraiser. The goal was to raise enough to purchase new nonfiction books and books for students who are learning to communicate fluently in English.

“They are our future,” Swanson said of the reason he was helping students. Then he took a quick peek at the long line that snaked nearly outside the high school cafeteria and quickly poured another batch of batter on the griddle, a process he repeated for four hours straight.

Lion’s Club president Bob Sarachman also is a veteran educator who taught in the district for 39 years. When word got out that his service organization was sponsoring a breakfast spread for a good cause, people came out in droves, he said.

Fifth-grader Dylan Schutt’s go-to author is Brandon Mull

Books and Breakfast Combo

“Breakfast is our specialty,” Sarachman said. “I know the resources for the library continued to be limited.”

Starting last school year, staff and the community have rallied to make improvements to the library that houses 14,400 books and 100-plus DVDs and VHS tapes.

Already the library has been repainted and new carpeting installed. Future purchases include decorative rugs to give the room a homey feel, new shelving, chairs, tables and slatwall book displays.

No-cost changes have been made as well, said second-grade teacher Caryn Snyder who’s also a member of the Library Advisory Council.

Some shelves were lowered to make it easier for shorter students to reach the books intended for them.

“We were just thinking it through and looking at it from their perspective,” Snyder said.

Fifth-grader Dylan Schutt said he’s discovered it’s easier to find the books written by his favorite author, Brandon Mull, who writes fantastical tales where magic is powerful and dreams are real.

“And there’s more room for us to sit down and read and do crafts because the tables are spread out more,” Dylan said.

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