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School library gets a facelift

Makeover: Target employees from the import distribution center and the Chesapeake Square Mall store spend the day on Friday giving a makeover to Mount Zion Elementary School’s library.

For the past 10 years, the curtains in the Mount Zion Elementary School library have taken the edge off the sun shining through the windows.

Through the years, the same sun that showed the way for hundreds of children to learn about reading also faded the curtains’ bright rainbow stripes and weathered the once-newly starched threads.

Just in time for the curtains’ retirement, Target employees volunteered their Friday to make over the school’s library — complete with jungle-themed curtains.

“We really wanted a new reading center for the students,” said Frances Barnes, principal. “We hope to see more students in the library, checking out more books and that the new room and toys will bring more hesitant readers inside. We want to make reading exciting for the students.”

The makeover is part of the Target Volunteers School Library Makeover program, for which volunteers clean, paint, and purchase and organize $1,000 worth of new books.

In addition to its other community service projects, Target chooses one school in its community to receive the makeover. Last year, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School was the beneficiary of the company’s generosity.

“We’re so excited to make AYP this year, but our reading scores are still not where they need to be,” Barnes said. “We’re working on making that a focus, and the library is at the center of that.”

The volunteers at the school were from the import distribution center in Suffolk and the store at Chesapeake Square Mall. Some came before work, after work or on a day off to clean, paint, organize and even assemble toys.

“Target places a strong emphasis on giving back to the community it’s in, both in terms of volunteers and monetarily,” said Jackie Donnell, Target human resources manager.

Jungle-themed curtains, bean bags, rugs, lamps, toys, books, desks and chairs are just a few of the many treasures the volunteers brought from a Target warehouse. Some team members also donated items.

The formerly white walls received a fresh coat of paint in the form of a jungle mural.

The beanbags and a large rug will be paired together to create a reading area in a back corner of the room.

Barnes also hopes to be able to use some of the resources for the school’s courtyard. Her vision is to have a “learning courtyard” with picnic tables and benches, educational murals and an active garden area, where teachers can bring their charges to learn about the outdoors.

The library will re-open on Monday morning for the students, and will be on display at its book fair on Nov. 15.