West View Middle School Holds Online Book Drive to Replace School Library Books Destroyed in Joplin, Mo., Tornado

West View Middle
When the East Middle School library in Joplin, Mo., was destroyed by a tornado last May, West View Middle School and the surrounding community of Morristown, Tenn., came to the rescue, purchasing 160 books for Joplin’s makeshift library in a book drive held last October.

The book drive was organized in coordination with West View’s Online Book Fair. Spearheaded by Parent Teacher Organization coordinators Kathryn Trawick and Cathy Bivens, the online book drive enabled local donors to purchase books from a wish list created by East Middle’s school librarian. West View also dug into its One for Books loose change fund to purchase additional books for the school.

“While making preparations for our Book Fair, I discovered teachers could create a wish list of books they wanted as part of our Online Book Fair. I realized it would be a perfect way for members of our community to donate book purchases to East Middle,” said librarian Kathy Jones.

Using the Wish List, East Middle School librarian Bonnie Turner was able to request exactly the books she needed, which is extremely important because school libraries often receive book donations that don’t always match their needs. “I wanted to give Bonnie as much selection power as I could,” Jones said.

Following the book drive, classes from both schools met for a question-and-answer computer conference via Skype. West View students watched as East Middle students opened the boxes of donated books for the first time. The Skype conference was enlarged on West View’s SMART Board for more students to see, and participants listened to the frightening first-hand accounts of East Middle students who had huddled in fear last May as a tornado tore through their homes.

“Many of these students lost everything in the storm,” said Jones. “You hear about something like this on the news, but to actually meet these students and hear about what they went through…that really made it real for many of our students.”

West View’s successful book drive also garnered plenty of publicity in the local newspapers.

“I think people embraced the story because it was so positive. Even though we only had a week or two for people to hear about the book drive and donate, it was still more successful than we ever imagined. I just wish we’d had a little more time to get the word out. We will next time,” Jones said.
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