kids books
Photo by Mike Thomas.

The parent association at PS 191 on West 61st street has begun a fundraising drive to raise $30,000 for a new library inside the school. PA President Kajsa Reaves started the drive last week, and they had raised $1,308 as of Monday morning.

“This would not simply be a room that houses books. It would be a dedicated space in which children would read, study, enhance their writing skills, and receive much needed extra help through mentoring and tutoring programs. Unfortunately, as with so many schools across NYC, PS 191 does not receive sufficient funding from the DOE to offer such resources, and our PTA alone cannot raise sufficient funds to realize the effort.”

The funds will go to buying book cases and shelves, floor coverings, paint, tables, desks, chairs, and other supplies. Some money will also be used to deconstruct a wall between two adjoining rooms. They’re also working separately on getting money to hire a librarian. The school has already received hundreds of books from parents at PS 199 on West 70th street.

Go here to donate.

NEWS | 32 comments | permalink
    1. Batya lewton says:

      To whom may I make a check out to? Where to send it? Do not use Internet for money transactions. Thanks

      Library must have NEW books. Not hand-me-downs.
      30,000 is insufficient to create a really good library. American Library Standards recommend at least 15 books per child.

      • Confused says:

        Batya, In a previous story a poster who claimed to have inside info on teh 191 situation said the books from the old library are in PS 191s basement. Specifically look for comments from Talkback in thread 6

        I think this $30,000 is just meant for shelves, beanbag chairs, tables and chairs, paint, basic renovations.

      • anon says:

        Why can a library not have used (but in good shape/clean) books? I’m puzzled by that because once one child reads a new book at a library it’s now used. Your comment comes across as very snobby and ignorant.

        • Kajsa Reaves says:

          Dear Batya Lewton,
          You may send the check to: PS 191 PTA. 210 West 61st Street, NY, NY 10023.
          Thank you for your offer to donate to our campaign.
          The PTA executive board

        • Young Sally says:

          Library books do become outdated. I remember doing a library project for NY Cares about 10 years ago at an UWS school and not only did we find a biography of Michael Jackson with his original nose, we also uncovered a book that included the statement, “When we go to the moon.”

        • Deb says:

          I helped out with the collection of books at 199 for 191. The books were gently used and they will be put to great use. Some 199 parents also chose to donate new books during last week’s Scholastic Book Fair. While the books were bought for 191, the proceeds of the sale went to 199. It was so nice to see the community working together. Thanks to everyone who joined 191 in their efforts!
          Project Cicero is another organization that 199 parents can choose to donate books to in the spring.

          • Kajsa says:

            The books are fabulous!
            Thank you everyone at PS 199 who have donated books to PS 191!! We love your support!

    2. ScooterStan says:

      The fact that the ‘all-seeing/all-knowing’ D.o.E. could permit an elementary school, especially one serving children from NYCHA housing, to go WITHOUT A LIBRARY for so many years speaks volumes about the imbeciles at Tweed Courthouse (D.o.E. headquarters).

      Perhaps if they were forced to reduce the number of useless bureaucratic functionaries (mainly former teachers/school administrators climbing the career-ladder) on the Tweed Courthouse payroll there would be sufficient $$ to fund a school library?

      Then again, knowing the D.o.E., probably NOT!

      • confused says:

        The principal receives money each year and has discretion about how to use that money. This school has decided to fund other things like dance and drama instead of a library. You can agree or disagree with that but the DOE isn’t to blame. School funding is determined by enrollment and then Title 1 schools get extra.

        • Jean says:

          Dance is a mandated subject area in elementary school in New York State. The principal cannot choose not to have a dance instruction. Also, the dance instruction at 191 is a huge source of pride. Check out their Holiday performance on December 18th.

          • Anon says:

            I’m sure dance is a huge source of pride. I have nothing against dance. Mandate or not all elementary schools do not have a dance teacher. My children had 10 weeks of dance in kindergarten and that was all for elementary school. PS 191 chooses to have a dance teacher while other schools do not. That’s fine, even preferable to a library.

    3. Matt says:

      Tables? floor coverings? Have they tried reaching out to Ikea for a donation? Their requirements seem fairly modest

      • angeline says:

        Good idea, Matt! The only thing is specific Ikea items need to be identified. I will mention it to the PTA association, and help them fill the form out if needed.

        • Kajsa says:

          Thanks for your concern and suggestions everyone.
          We’ve done our research regarding IKEA and they will not support our cause.
          Believe it or not, we have some pretty capable people on our board who know how to apply for grants and solicit organizations for funds.
          We came to the conclusion that a GoFundMe campaign would be a great start.
          We appreciate all the books PS 199 has donated! We still accept gently used books. Thanks for your support!

          • john says:

            Do you Kajsa? Because it seems to me like this is such a completely solvable issue and there is zero excuse for your students not having a library? How many grants have your capable team won? Most of the electeds have discretionary funds that they would gladly apply to this issue. What have they said? What about other furniture companies? What about the hotels in your zone -they are always replacing furniture? What about the hospitals? Organizations replace furniture all the time. Many local businesses would offer support if you were to simply ask them. I bet your PTA are great talkers and simply not “doers” Plenty of organizations offer furniture donations. What have they said? Seems to me very much like a blinkered mentality. A gofundme campaign? Get serious. Thats a typical response from someone who wants to maintain the illusion of action without putting in the work to actually achieve the outcome. Kajsa – Do whats effective, maki it happen, mobilize the electeds and the local community – dont just go through the motions. Honestly….

        • Jenny says:

          Why would they need help filling out the form?

    4. Sheila Linder says:

      How is possible that there is no accountability?
      How can DOE pass judgment on student and educators’ performance, when the basic tools are lacking?

      Only because the economic, social and political disparities which are challenging access to the resources and opportunities of the more fortunate
      has this outrageous travesty been disclosed to the
      public. Administrative and political strategies have been
      self-serving and irrevocably destroyed opportunities for current and future generations, whereas the entitled can circumvent these barriers and enrich their lives.

      Where are our electeds from all agencies and levels of the public and private sectors.

      Apple, Microsoft and other technological innovators have a golden opportunity to step up and meet thes challenges with grassroots philanthropy minus wasted
      the mundane photo-op events. Truly time for the Robin Hood Foundation,Ford Foundation, and other sources of endowed funds to take action.

      • Confused says:

        Sheila, I posted this above — In a previous story a poster who claimed to have inside info on the 191 situation said the books from the old library are in PS 191s basement. Specifically look for comments from Talkback in thread 6
        This doesn’t sound like the DOE decides if a school has a library or not. The school/principal decided to spend money on a dance and drama program instead of a librarian. Perhaps they feel that books in the classrooms and a public library a few blocks away is enough. In fact, on that thread people were asking why when they had heard the complaints of no library the teachers weren’t asking for donations to fund one. It doesn’t seem like the school has felt a library was a priority. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad decision.

        • Sheila Linder says:

          Thank you for clarifying some issues.
          Bottom line: grave disparities exist, system defaulting to the lowest level of compliance and the responsible public and private CEO types and reliving the Emperor’s
          New Clothes.
          There are many parents and ad hoc education driven citizens who have a vested interest in correcting the root causes and outcome measures
          Time to reassess our future goals and the process for
          measuring and achieving them
          We cannot afford this perpetual self-fulfilling implosion.
          As a fortunate recipient of New York City public education in the Bronx, I was given many opportunities which have enhanced my ability to pay forward and
          remember the true sources of abundance. It’s not the acquisition of things and stuff but building the desire and skills to nurture and mentor our “percentage” and legacy, i.e., our future citizens. Thank you Music and
          Art (now LaGuardia HS) and Hunter College and the City University of New York for the gifts of a full education and the awareness and appreciation which
          have made me a better person. There is hope and first and second generation students are living proof of the possibilities.

    5. Linda Esposito says:

      Nice to see PS 199 helping out PS 191. A good beginning…

    6. Scott says:

      Can we have some numbers to buttress the claim that DOE is shafting 191? Anyway, libraries are overrated in the digital age. But their absence does give bigoted parents a handy excuse for pulling their kids out of mixed classrooms. So they are kinda useful.

    7. Erica says:

      Is it really true they must’ve new? I have a stack of lightly used, current children’s books I was going to donate to Project Cicero, and I thought they passed them along to the public schools.

      • Saraj says:

        No, they do not have to be new. Project Cicero is a great program; they take gently used books. 191 will also.

        • Erica says:

          Excellent! I will bring these books to wherever they should go to get to PS 191. These are books my kids and I enjoyed, but are nearly new – read once or a few times – so should be good in a library. Thank you!

    8. Erica says:

      Can books be dropped off at the school?

      • UWS parent says:

        I was just wondering the same thing myself. We have a bunch of barely used, science-oriented children’s books, many of them hard cover, that my son has outgrown. I would love to donate them to 191’s library.

    9. Citizen says:

      Thanks for offering a way to actually give support (vs just writing comments here). I’m donating now! Great cause.

      • We will happily accept gently used books. Please drop them off at the main entrance, 210 West 61 Street. The parent coordinator or someone in the office will take care of them. Donations to our GoFundMe campaign are also very appreciated: Please share the link on social media! Thanks to everyone who gives us positive feedback and comments!