Redvers School’s library is going to benefit from the efforts of students and the community through a nation-wide contest.
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation announced the results of its 2018 Adopt a School program on Nov. 1. It provides $1.1 million for books to over 600 school libraries across Canada.
Susan Delmaire, the librarian at Redvers School, was first informed of the contest by the school’s vice-principal two years ago. He thought she might find it interesting, and wondered if she could enter Redvers in 2017.
She quickly realized how easy it was to enter.
Last year the school, which has about 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 12, was one of the runners-up for Saskatchewan, and this year the school won the top prize.
“You have to fill out a little bio that lets them know how many kids are in your school, what your school budget is for the library to be able to buy books, and you get approved, and then you start,” said Delmaire.
“Basically I annoy every single person I know in person … or anybody online to vote for us.”
She created a story online, in which she asked people to support her.
There were three ways to back Redvers School and the other entries. The first is to donate directly to the school online.
They can also vote for the school’s story, which Delmaire asked people to do.
“You ask people to go online, find your school, find your story and then heart it,” said Delmaire.
Every vote pushed the school higher in the provincial rankings.
This year they finished second in Saskatchewan for the most likes, trailing only a school in Muenster. The five stories to receive the most likes were the finalists to receive the grand prize, with a draw to determine the winner. Redvers School was drawn.
“I had 200 hearts by the end of the contest this year,” said Delmaire.
The other way to support Redvers is for parents to publish a story of their own to explain how the library has benefitted students. A couple of stipulations for submitting a story from the community is the number of submissions maxes out at 20, and the number of votes needs to be concentrated on one story.
She received 20 stories, which also meant 20 free books for the library.
Those stories answered such questions as why people should support the library or school, what their favourite book is, and why reading is important.
Redvers School won gift cards that can be used to purchase books at Chapters, Indigo and Coles. Last year the school won about $2,300 for its runner-up finish, and this year they won $4,600.
Since she needs the support of the students and their parents to crack the top five and be eligible to win the contest, Delmaire posted a wish list on a bulletin board in the school. Any student, teacher or staff member could add a book to the wish list.
“I actually ended up leaving a version of that wish list up for the entire year, because it is quite a bit of money,” said Delmaire.
“Any time a student walks by, if they think of an author they’d like to read about, or if there’s a specific book or a series they want to read about, or even a subject like barrel racing or what have you, they can always come by the front door of the library and write it down on the wish list.”
She keeps track of those books and orders them. It took a full year of book wishes to use up the money from last year’s Love of Reading promotion.
Now that she has twice as much money to spend, Delmaire said she needs to find out if there’s an expiration date for the gift cards.
“Any free book that comes in this library, I’m thrilled with. So the fact that they come to us and they’re free, it doesn’t matter how much money it is,” said Delmaire.
There has been another benefit from the promotion, she said.
“I have received more donated, nearly new library books … that come to my desk during the contest time, because I think it opens people’s eyes to how small school budgets are for things like that, and how much people appreciate new books in the library.”
The school’s library received more support after it was adopted by the Coles book store in the Northgate Mall in Regina during the campaign.
When people were asked if they wanted to support the Love of Reading program, the public could do so, and then that Coles store turned that money over to the school.
Redvers School was able to purchase 91 books for its library.
Delmaire noted Redvers has been the only school in South East Cornerstone to enter the contest in the last two years. She is surprised more schools haven’t entered it, especially since there are some areas where 30 votes can put a school in the top five.
“There are some provinces where there were only three stories entered, so there were literally three stories that guaranteed you either a $500 gift card, or the big one.”
Delmaire said the contest is a fantastic opportunity, but it also seems like a secret, so she wishes more people knew about it.