Posted on June 13, 2013

Fresno: PG&E Grant Keeps School Libraries Open for Summer, Benefits Children Without Access

FRESNO – Children near four Fresno elementary schools will have access to books and story time this summer due in large part to funding from PG&E.

A $7,000 grant from PG&E was recently given to the Foundation for Central Schools which will open four Central Unified School District library sites this summer. The libraries are located at four of the district’s schools and in neighborhoods without county library sites.

PG&E’s Raj Beasla, left. presents a $7,000 check to Central Unified’s Mike Berg, right, to keep libraries open this summer. They were joined by Sara Mirhadi-Offen with the Foundation for Central Schools and students from McKinley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Catalano Fenske & Associates.)

Raj Beasla, PG&E’s Central Valley corporate affairs director, presented a ceremonial check to Central Unified Superintendent Mike Berg on Thursday (June 6). The event was covered by television station ABC-30.

“It’s heart-warming to know that we can open our facilities, not only for the enrichment, the literacy, the internet connectivity, but also for the cooling center,” Berg told the television station.

There are no Fresno County library sites within Central Unified School District, located in a rapidly-growing area that straddles Highway 99 on the city’s western edge. This makes access to books during the summer months difficult for many families, especially those without transportation.

Funding for the Central’s summer library program will allow equal access to reading materials for all students, according to the district. It will also allow children to participate in the district’s Accelerated Reading program – an incentive-based program – that will be promoted at the summer library sites. Data has shown that students who continue to read throughout the summer are better prepared for the next school year.

Beginning June 17, libraries will be open at Biola-Pershing, Herndon-Barstow and McKinley elementary schools in addition to Central East High School.  Free breakfast and lunch will also be provided to students.

For additional information about the school library sites and hours of operation, click here.

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