From April 2010

The new library at Micheltorena needs your help!

Join us in our celebration of reading!

Click here for an adoption form.


This fall, Micheltorena Street Elementary School will build a new library in the northern-most building on its campus. The new library will more than double the number of books it is currently lending and will give students a spacious, quiet, well-lit place to read. Principal Furfari plans to start construction when the children leave for summer vacation this June, and have it ready in September for the start of the 2010-11 school year.

English fluency, in the densely multicultural environment of Los Angeles, is the first challenge that many of its children face when starting school. Principal Susanna Furfari is meeting that challenge by focusing Micheltorena’s resources on creating an environment that builds and nurtures her students’ relationship with the English language. In addition, our school is host to a number of programs for students with special education needs. Students come from many different areas in Los Angeles to Micheltorena to learn with teachers with the expertise to meet their special education requirements.

The new library will help our challenged students reach their goals of English fluency, reading proficiency, and start them on the path to a life-long love of reading.

The library project began when Micheltorena was awarded a grant from the Wonder of Reading Foundation, a literacy organization in Los Angeles that seeks to improve the rates of literacy in school children by helping schools renovate their libraries. The grant will provide substantial funds for both the construction of the new library and new books for its collection.

The grant, however, comes with its own challenges. Micheltorena must raise funds for library furniture, media equipment, general upkeep and replacement costs for damaged or missing books. This amounts to Micheltorena raising twenty thousand of its own dollars, an impressive order for any public school, but an especially tall one in this depressed economic environment with its accompanying budget cuts and layoffs.

Principal Furfari is undaunted: “Micheltorena’s parent organizations are motivated and creative. We may have to work twice as hard, but we’re going to do it.”

To raise these crucial funds, Friends of Micheltorena and the Micheltorena Library Committee, both comprised of parents, school administrators, teachers and community members, have launched an outreach campaign called “Adopt the Library.” Donors may adopt individual shelves, shelf units, reading stations, furniture including chairs and tables, single books, and special, framed, shadowboxed books. An engraved plaque featuring the donor’s name and their dedication will accompany each acquisition.

The Silverlake community is also rising to meet Micheltorena’s challenge. Local store Home Ec adopted a crafting section of the library, and will be donating many fine books on the subject as well. Local artists Jordan Crane, Johnny Ryan, and Steven Weissman will design and paint murals on the library walls, tailoring them for donors who contribute a set amount. So far, our committees have raised almost $6,000 for the library.

As the Wonder of Reading organization states eloquently on their website: “In the end, it’s not just the school that gets a library – it’s the community. And when the community gathers to cut the ribbon, it’s not just an opening, it’s a celebration.”

Principal Furfari, the student body and staff of Micheltorena are eagerly awaiting the completion of the new library. It will be of inestimable value to Micheltorena’s students and will embody, via the plaques and dedications, the priorities and generosity of our Silverlake community.

Please fill out an adoption form and dedicate your portion of the library!  The students of Micheltorena thank you for your support!