Middle schoolers collect 10,000 books for Gifts to Give

Mar 29, 2019

Dartmouth Middle School students are spreading their love of reading with more than 10,000 books packed away for donation to Gifts to Give.

Students from the school’s student leadership group, librarian Laura Gardner, and teacher Richard Blair coordinated the three-week book drive throughout the middle school. It is not the first time the school has held a book donation drive, but one big record was set: The most books ever.

“Every couple of years we do things for Gifts to Give, but this year is the most we’ve ever gotten as a school,” said eighth grader and student leadership member Ryan Arruda. “We’re at just over 10,000 books.”

The goal was originally set at 1,999 books, but many classrooms alone raised more than that, teacher Helen Mitchell noted. In the past, the maximum books collected was around 7,500.

“We all know that these books are going to make the world a better place for those kids out there,” Arruda said.

The books range in material from young early learning books, to paperback and hardcover novels.

“They’re going to go to families that need them, which is really important to us. There’s a bunch of different level books,” said Morgan Melo, secretary of the leadership group.

Librarian Laura Gardner said the goal of the donation drive is to eliminate “book deserts” in underserved areas.

“Many kids in our school have lots of books in their house, as evidenced by one family that donated more than 1,400, but there are students in neighboring towns, especially New Bedford, who may not have more than 10 books on their shelves,” Gardner said.

On March 29, Gifts to Give stopped by in a U-Haul van to collected the donated books. There were so many books a second trip had to be made.

Books weren’t the only thing students are collecting, however. Eighth graders also donated boxes of pet supplies to area animal shelters.