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Lincoln librarian holds 50th book fair

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BOOK FAIR: Lincoln Elementary library clerk, Diane Arnold (top), held her 50th book fairthis week and last. Students Aiden Duke, Lily-ann Jackson, Addyson Davis, Aryana Elzey, Xander Hamming, and Colten Latta (left to right) hold their wish lists and booksat the book fair on Tuesday afternoon.
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READING: Lincoln Elementary student Joel Uresti picks out one of his favorite books entitled "Puppy Dance Party!"from a shelf at the school's 50th book fair on Oct. 8.
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STUDENT: Riley Armstrong of Lincoln Elementary looks ata selection of colorful books at Lincoln Elementary's 50th book fair on Tuesday afternoon.

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

Over the last 23 years, Diane Arnold, the library clerk at Lincoln Elementary, has organized 50 book fairs at the school.

Arnold hosted her first Scholastic book fair with the school in the fall of 1996 and has since sold more than $230,000 worth of books.

At HCCSC’s school board meeting on Monday night, Superintendent Chad Daugherty highlighted Arnold’s efforts as a representation of the school district’s core values.

“That’s an amazing feat,” said Daugherty. “And we really appreciate the efforts Diane has made to help the students and teachers there at Lincoln.”

The percentage of the proceeds the school makes from the book fair is put into purchasing resources and STEM, Science Technology Engineering and Math, products for the library lab.

“We have bought building materials, and then I’ve also bought books to put back into the library for the kids,” said Arnold. “Over the years I just kept adding to the collection. And that’s not coming out of the school’s budget.”

Students are given a wish list where they can mark down the books they would like from the book fair. While students benefit the most from the book fair, Arnold says anyone is welcome to come in and purchase books.

“Our parents do a really good job during conferences I’m open and they’ll come down,” Arnold said. “Because I’ve been here so long they know that I have a buy one get one free fair, so they know they benefit in the spring more, but they still will come and buy one or two books for their kids.”

Arnold says the community has been a big supporter for the school’s book fair thanks to the first-grade buddy program, Kiwanis club, Rotary club, and others.

“The book fair has always welcomed the community to come in and buy,” Arnold said. “That’s one of the pluses that I’ve been here so long is that people do know me and so they’ll contact me.”

For the school’s 50th book fair, Arnold and her co-worker have given out pencils, books and gift certificates to students, which they can spend at the fair.

“Jay Peters came over last Thursday and brought me a card and a travel mug and it was kind of cool to think that somebody thought about that,” said Arnold.

Over the 23 years of organizing the 50 book fairs, Arnold says the transactions moved from a cash drawer to a credit card WiFi internet system.

Parents are also now able to order books online for their children and set up an e-wallet account so they don’t have to give money to their children.

“I have a WiFi router that Scholastic sends me and it approves their credit cards right away,” Arnold said. “It’s like a little mini bookstore. We just keep up with the times.”

Arnold says she’s always gone through Scholastic because they change with the times, including updating book materials to suit the changing interests of the kids.

“I had a parent in here today wanting to know if we had a Dr. Seuss book, and I’m like ‘no, we don’t’ because they keep changing with what the kids want to read,” Arnold said.

The book fairs have benefited the library, students, and teachers at Lincoln Elementary school for the last 23 years, but Arnold says the most rewarding part is the excitement from the students when the book fair rolls around again.

“Last year I had a student come up to me, it was just one of those days where everybody’s just at you for everything, and there was a first grader and she said ‘Thank you, Mrs. Arnold, for having the book fair’ and that’s what makes the difference,” Arnold said. “All the work that you put into and the hours, it’s just the excitement, getting a book into their hands.”

The 2019 fall book fair began on Oct. 3 and runs through noon this Friday, Oct. 11.