Free books up for grabs at annual book giveaway

A book lover browses the selection at the annual School District 51 Book Give-Away at Pomona Elementary Tuesday morning.

Book lovers descended upon the rows of books at Pomona Elementary Tuesday morning, grabbing great reads for free as part of the School District 51 Annual Book Give-Away. Boxes upon boxes of books were lined from end to end, filling the gym, cafeteria and spilling into the hallways. People struggled with the weight of their chock-full boxes of literature as they shuffled from row to row, adding to their collection.

The event, which runs through Friday from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day and is open to everyone, draws crowds by the hundreds. A line of people wrapped around the elementary school before the doors opened, school district employee Juddah Raine said. More than 500 people will have walked through the door by noon, she estimated.

Textbooks and library books were collected from all 43 schools in the district, and the literature spanned every grade level, said Cathie Gonzalez, the district’s director of curriculum. The textbooks available at the giveaway were ousted from the classrooms as new materials were brought in to meet the district’s new standards and curriculum, she said. School libraries also weeded out books that weren’t consistently circulated, adding to the available stockpile.

The book giveaway wasn’t as large as in years past due to recent economic woes, though. Because of the weak economy and far-reaching budget deficits, the district can’t afford to replace as many textbooks or library books this year. Despite the tough times, there are still more than 1,800 books that are up for grabs, Raine said.

Library books that aren’t taken will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, and textbooks that are left after the giveaway ends will be recycled.


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