GFPS curriculum office organizes book giveaway

Photo,

Photo, “book stack” by ginnerobot, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Ava Donahue and Marissa McMickle

As the school year comes to a close, schools are getting ready to send some of their books off to Paris Gibson Education Center. Every public school in Great Falls takes part in this annual tradition of giving some of their books back to the community for free. 

“It was started by our curriculum office. They’re in charge of ordering the books, so it’s organized by them,” media specialist Jamie Williams explains. “It’s probably required through our finance department of how we discard materials that were bought with taxpayer money.”

In years past, most of the books that have been given away were textbooks. This year, there aren’t as many textbooks because there is not a new curriculum. Most of the resources going to the community are school materials and library books. Whenever a teacher leaves, they usually have a lot of books that they leave behind. Those, along with textbooks, are a big portion of the books given away. 

“So when Mike Lathrop left, the physics teacher, he left about three full shelves of books for the next teacher. Usually the next teacher that comes doesn’t want those resources. We keep some of them, but we’ve got a lot of teachers that have a lot of books, and when they retire, they stick around for a few years and they usually go to the book giveaway,” Williams said. “This year I know, just our school, we’re going to have about 100 boxes of books. That includes all of the ones from last year [and] a bunch of science and math resources that were gathered from the science and math rooms.”

To get the books ready to be sent out to the community, CMR media center staff put every book through a very specific process. 

 “When we pull a book, we’ve got to remove any identification that it’s a school district book. First we have to take the barcode out and we have to remove it from our electronic catalog. We do that for both textbooks and library books,” Williams said. “Then we take the barcodes off, and then inside we stamp the book that it’s withdrawn from GFPS. Then it’s ready for the giveaway.”

The GFPS curriculum office has been organizing this district-wide giveaway for as long as the district has been around. 

“I bet we’ve been doing this forever, because books have an age limit, and then we eventually have to get rid of them. We’ve probably been doing it for every year, as long as I can remember, not that that’s been very long. Last year we didn’t have a book giveaway, so this year we probably have a lot more books than usual, because we have all of last year’s as well.”

The book giveaway is being held on June 15-17 from noon to 6 p.m. in the PGEC gymnasium. All books are out-of-date, obsolete, or no longer needed for reference materials. 

“When things are bought with taxpayer money, when we no longer need it, we need to give it back to the taxpayers. If we have books that are obsolete, if we have textbooks or library books that aren’t used anymore, we give them to this book giveaway. So all of the schools send all of their obsolete textbooks there, and they’re given to the community. People come and take the books, a lot of people take them just for personal means, a lot of homeschooled people come and take resources, and some people will come and get them for craft projects.”