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Students build library for school that had none

March 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Imagine trying to succeed in school without even having a library. That was the situation at one local high school, so a group of students decided to create a library themselves.

Four high school juniors have one thing in common: "I'm really, really passionate when it comes to reading," said Morgan Osborne, part of the Library Club.

"Every book I read, I learn something new," said Estefania Valerio, a member of the Library Club.

They're students at Alliance College-Ready Academy High School #7 in South Los Angeles. And while these four take advanced-placement classes and have big dreams for college, the school is underperforming and lacks resources. It hasn't even had a library - until now.

"When you use the Internet, it's not necessarily the most reliable source, compared to a book that you can reference and is factual," said Library Club member Duane Madison.

So they took matters into their own hands, creating a quiet place to study and gathering books over the summer and into the school year. They've drawn from their personal book collections at home, rummaged through book sales and appealed to libraries, all to give other students the gift of reading.

"Every time we put a book up, we know that kids are going to pick this book and they're going to really like it," said Library Club member Roxana Mendoza.

"When you're a kid, you still have hope, you have these dreams, you're so innocent, you have this huge mind, and why not put all these creative details? Why not inspire this beautiful mind, you know?" said Morgan Osborne. "Don't wait until you're older, until you're an adult. Do it now, inspire yourself now, because it can really pay off when you're older."

They hope their peers and countless classes who come after them will pick up the right book, one that sparks the joy they find in reading.

"I want people to not miss out," said Osborne. "I want us to be able to experience these types of stories and these types of ideas now when we're kids, so when we get older it means that much more."

They've gathered about 500 books so far, but there are still plenty of empty shelves, and they welcome donations on the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools donate page. They're looking for books of all genres, as well as monetary donations.