3 years after closing, new library opens at Pine Street Elementary

4 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — After three years of not having a library in their school, the students and staff members at Pine Street Elementary School are excited to open the doors of a brand new library.

Pine Street Elementary second-graders Kohen Joseph (left), Trinity Howe and Noelle Blaikie (right) search for books at the school’s new library on Wednesday, Feb. 5. (Melissa Lizotte | The Star-Herald)

School principal Loretta Clark said that three years ago the school closed its library to include additional special education classrooms. When the school relocated the art and music classrooms, school officials realized they had an opportunity to bring the library back for students to enjoy.

“A school isn’t a school without a library,” Clark said on Wednesday, not long after the library became available to students and teachers. “One of our goals is to make sure every child develops a love of reading at an early age.”

Though Pine Street saved many of the books from the previous library, they have also purchased more than 500 new books thanks to donations from local McDonald’s owners Heidi and Daryl Abbotoni, as well as former students of Pine Street. 

The Abbotonis donated 10 percent of the first two days of sales for the newly reopened McDonald’s location in Presque Isle, which totaled $41,000 and resulted in a $4,100 donation. In addition, Usborne Books & More matched 50 percent of the total books Pine Street purchased from the company, bringing the donation total to $6,100.

Pine Street ed tech Lisa Dean now serves as the librarian under a stipend position and spent numerous hours during the holiday break cataloging books and stocking shelves with parents and community volunteers. 

Pine Street Elementary School recently opened a new library after three years of not having a library for students. (Melissa Lizotte | The Star-Herald)

Dean said that the library has around 3,000 books. Students from Presque Isle High School’s Career and Technical Education program built and donated new shelves.

“It’s been exciting to watch the students visit the library and find books that they are interested in,” Dean said. “They especially love the new books, with all the bright colors and pictures.”

Many Pine Street students have good things to say about their new library.

“We come here a lot,” said second-grader Kohen Joseph. “I think the books are the best part.”

Lilian Johnson, also a second-grader, is thrilled to be able to explore her favorite books at the library.

“We go to the library so we can enjoy all the adventures inside the books,” Johnson said.