When Russom Mesfun first laid eyes on Montera Middle School last year, he could not believe what he didn’t see.
“I was horrified to know that the school does not have a library,” said Mesfun, Montera’s principal. “I just could not conceive of it.”
Now it does, thanks to an $80,000 check from the school’s parent-teacher group — which is technically a PFSC, not a PTA – that helped pay for a librarian.
The library, once locked up and abandoned, has an infusion of new books and recently opened for business. The kids “are borrowing like it’s going out of style,” Mesfun said.
Most Oakland schools have a library — or remnants of one — but it doesn’t do the students much good unless someone is there to open it up, to manage it, to help them find what they need. A parent of Cole Middle School told me this year that the school didn’t have a librarian. At least at one point, the Castlemont Business & Technology School didn’t have one either.
What happened? When did such basic aspects of education have to be underwritten by donors? And what will happen when schools are forced to make deeper cuts?
In any case, this is good news for Montera’s 900 kids, who come from all over the city and from all walks of life. “The kids like to read. They like that quiet place,” Mesfun said.
And now, at last, they have it.