North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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December 25, 2013

‘Friends’ provide required books to Fultondale High School

FULTONDALE — Some local citizens have taken it upon themselves to make sure students — most of whom are strangers — have the books they need.

It all started with a church library.

Last year, volunteers created a library and study at Fultondale United Methodist Church in order to give people a quiet, comfortable place to visit. Church pastor Ron Gonia said he uses the library frequently.

Out of the library has grown an informal group of people called the Friends of the Library. The group is not a board or a committee; but rather a group of about 20 people with common goals who do outreach in the area.

One of their biggest projects is the donation of books that are required reading at Fultondale High School.

The group has donated at least 150 books so far.

“We would not make it without (the donations),” said FHS librarian Connie Oberneder. “We have not had the money to buy books for four years.”

In accordance with the Common Core State Standards Initiative, students are required to read specific books

“And many of our students can’t afford them,” said Oberneder.

She said Friends of the Library has donated numerous classroom sets of books, including “The City of Ember,” “Thin Wood Walls,” “The Outsiders,” “The Great Gatsby” and “many, many more than that.”

“It has just been wonderful,” said Oberneder. “I don’t know what we would have done. Our students are very appreciative of it.”

Fultondale High School Principal Dr. Stephanie Robinson is a member of Friends of the Library, but was unavailable for comment.

Robinson and many students wrote thank-you notes to the Friends of the Library. Their notes cover a bulletin board outside the library at the church.

Members of Friends of the Library say another purpose of the group is to document the history of Fultondale High School by saving documents and artifacts.

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