STEM library gets organized with more offerings - Odessa American: ECISD

STEM library gets organized with more offerings

By Ruth Campbell rcampbell@oaoa.com | Posted: Monday, January 6, 2020 5:22 pm

Thanks to a donation of about 6,000 books and furniture items from a now-closed church day school in Austin, the University of Texas Permian Basin STEM Academy has a more fully fleshed out library.

Bonnie Villarreal, reading coach and dyslexia interventionist at the STEM Academy, said the library is her side project. The donation came from St. Paul Lutheran Day School from the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin. They were part of Concordia University. The school was closed down two years ago and the books were in storage so they were donated to make room for other things.

Villarreal said she worked with Margaret Peterson, executive director of the Lutheran Literacy Project, to obtain the materials.

Villarreal has had help from students, faculty and parents to put the library together in the middle school and high school areas. She added that the process started about a year ago. Her goal is to get students to enjoy reading. Some, but not all, of the students were volunteering for National Honor Society and Student Council hours.

“We started the library with basically nothing but donations about a year ago … With this gifting, we’re going to be able to greatly expand our library. I just love books myself and it’s just really important that students of all ages have books they can hold in their hands and read and have some choice about books. We have a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction books. It’s important that they have opportunities to choose something of interest and it’s so important that they have opportunities to read every day because research shows that the students that read every day have higher scores on all types of tests; they’re more prepared for college, career readiness; and better prepared to be parents because it’s important for parents to read to their children,” Villarreal said.

STEM Academy will have a library night from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight (Jan. 7) where students can come and check out books.

Sixteen-year-old junior Kylee Mesa said reading is very important. 

“I personally enjoy reading for knowledge. I think it’s entertaining, but I find certain genres more entertaining than others, particularly science and I do have a lot of math books so I like to read those sometimes,” Mesa said.

Natalea Alexander, an 11-year-old sixth-grader, was helping stamp books with the school name. 

“Honestly, I think it’s pretty cool because we didn’t honestly have much of a library before this. It was just a few books and it was for the littler kids, but now we have a very big variety of books now and it’s very nice,” Alexander said. 

Eliza Oglesby, also an 11-year-old sixth-grader, said it’s amazing that the school now has all these books because it can broaden students’ horizons.

“The reason I’m here is because I want to help with everything and I think it’s great that we now have a library,” Oglesby said.