AURORA, W.Va. – A school is many things without a proper library, but it’s certainly not complete — nobody understands that better than Jonas Knotts.
Knotts is the Aurora School principal, which received a $10,000 check from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation Wednesday. The money will be used to help refurbish and restock the school’s library, which was originally built in the mid-90s. Knotts said the library was built for high school students, so the books, other than being old, weren’t appropriate for his K-8 students. That is why this donation is so significant.
“This is a very significant grant for us,” Knotts said. “Our library really serves as kind of a community hub. We do more than just things with our individual classrooms in there. We have community programs, we have after school programs and things like that; early literacy, early enrichment and things like that. So it’s really going to help us keep our commitment to the community through those programs.”
The check was presented by two members of the Dollar General team. Sean Farrier, district manager, said the check was reflective of the kind of work Dollar General does in communities where it operates.
“At Dollar General, we place a lot of emphasis on family values and community initiatives and things like that,” Farrier said. “I think it’s just great that we’re able to give back to the communities that we live in. I know that we’re a large corporation, but it’s really great that we have that homestyle feel. It just means a lot to be able to help the kids out and help the community out. Because like he alluded to, it’s just as much as it is for the community as it is for the kids and the school.”
“I think it’s really great what they’re doing here. Hopefully, it’ll promote learning and really build that love for reading.”
The second person representing Dollar General on Wednesday was Barbara Lipscomb, store manager of the Aurora Dollar General. For Lipscomb, fixing the library is personal because she lives in the community and her granddaughter currently attends.
Lipscomb said she’s “proud” of the fact that dollar General not only values its employees but also the community they live in. She added that she can’t wait to tell her grandchild about the new library.
“I’m excited,” Lipscomb said. “She’ll be happy.”
The transformation of Aurora’s library will also include updates to the furnishing. This is important, Knotts said, because the furniture was bought for students much older than his.
The mission of this project then is to not just add new books but to create a comfortable space where students can read and learn from those new books.
Knotts said books will arrive in March, thanks to the West Virginia Department of Education’s grant. Aurora used $28,000 of that money to buy books for students that will be in the completed library.
“It’s our goal to have this done in the spring,” Knotts said.
The project will be accomplished through the help of the community, the principal said.
This means labor will be “community-based,” Knotts said. All the school has to do is just put out the word that it needs some helping hands. The fact that a simple call to action is all it takes to motivate the community is encouraging to Knotts.
He said it’s indicative of how much the community is appreciative of the school and all that comes with it.
“Our community has been incredibly supportive of us,” Knotts said. “And we are excited to be able to give back to our community and provide an absolutely wonderful, reimagined space and reimagined possibilities for literacy for our kids.”
Auroras’ principal said he is very grateful for the Department of Education grant to buy the books and all the help the community will be. He also thanked Dollar General for their generous gift.
“We are incredibly thankful to Dollar General for providing this for us and helping us be able to take the next step in our library project,” Knotts said.