We finally got to eyeball Andrew Jackson Middle School’s new library in Chalmette, Louisiana. And although our amateurish (but very funky) video doesn’t fully convey this, it is a beaut—thanks in large part to the generous friends of ReadThis.
If you haven’t been following the story, Andrew Jackson opened this fall for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck five years ago. This was a tremendous achievement in St. Bernard Parish, where whole neighborhoods were literally washed away and the fishing community was further devastated by the BP oil spill.
But the school had no books or even a budget for books. And that’s where you came in. As you can see, the shelves are still in the process of being stocked. But at present there are more than 2,500 titles to fill this gorgeous space—and that number grows daily. When I visited, the amazing librarian Juanita Peralta and her mom were busily cataloguing books. Many of the titles I spotted I could link back to actual donors—sports books from Scott DeSimon, Roald Dahl titles from Greenlight and many generous patrons of the Brooklyn Flea.
Before we get carried away, here are a few—and certainly not all—of the people who helped give the kids of AJMS a library:
The Sarlin Branch of the Pickens County Library, Liberty, SC (1,000+ books!)
The St. Bernard Project
Garden District Book Shop
Eric Demby and the Brooklyn Flea
Scott DeSimon of ESPN
Vernon House/Rachel Cantor
Hawes and Ambriel Bostic
The Institute for Children and Poverty
Sam, Suzanne, and Isabel Mitchell
Harry and Marjorie Keyishian
Barri Evins and From The Heart (invited by Susanna Einstein)
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo