United Way, Corteva partner to provide new library at Meridian Elementary School

After several years without a dedicated library, students at Meridian Elementary School will soon have a place to read, learn and explore new ideas.

The school, United Way of Midland County and Corteva recently partnered to bring a multi-purpose library into the school.

Meridian Elementary School teachers Erin Anderson and Allison Goodwin lead the project after hearing Principal Sarah Rivard express a desire to establish a traditional library space. The school’s “library” was a multi-use room with a limited number of books, some tucked away in boxes. Occasionally, a student would visit to check out a book with a teacher and bring it back to a classroom.

Anderson and Goodwin met over the summer, recruited other teachers and parents on transforming the library, and presented the proposal to United Way.

United Way reached out to Corteva for funding and volunteers.

“We at Corteva were looking for a way that we could impact a local charity or school with our funding and people power,” said Nick Hohler, unit engineer and United Way campaign chair at Corteva. “This was a match made in heaven.”

“It was great to partner with (Corteva) because they had great ideas, too,” Anderson said.

Corteva provided Meridian Elementary school with a $ 6,000 grant which was used to purchase new rugs, furniture, educational toys and more than 500 new books for kindergarten through fifth grade. A large part of the process to establish the new library was going through books, removing outdated material and supplementing the collection with current chapter books and resources covering topics such as social-emotional learning and culture. Hohler picked out furniture as well as selected STEM maker space equipment.

On Thursday, about 20 Corteva employees volunteered to assemble furniture and sort and scan books into the system.

The goal is to make the library into a space where learning is used as positive reinforcement and classes can visit during dedicated times of the week.

“A lot of these kids do not even know what they’re missing because they’ve been to school for so long where this was a classroom. Then we had COVID and we could not even come into the library. There were so many barriers set in place, “Goodwin said.” It’s going to be amazing when they all come in here and can use this space for its purpose. “

The new library is expected to be fully open to students at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

“Reading is so fundamental to everything we do,” said Katie Bell Pearce, corporate relationship manager with United Way of Midland County. “You can not progress if you are not able to read. Getting books in the hands of kids is so important to United Way and me, personally.

“Kids need that space where they can come where it’s not class, but it’s a learning and creative environment.”

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