Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Library shelves get new life

Molly Shore

The three R’s of education have taken on new meanings. With education

dollars shrinking, parents, educators and municipal employees are now

thinking recycle, reuse and repaint.


That’s what Mary Ann Wassem, Emerson Elementary School PTA

president, thought when she learned bookshelves, desks, tables,

stools and other equipment at the old Buena Vista Branch Library were

slated for auction by the city.


After Doris Crutcher, a retired Buena Vista library assistant,

called Wassem to let her know the city planned to move the equipment

into storage and eventually sell it, Wassem said her first thought

was: “Oh no, why can’t we have it?”

When Helen Wang, assistant to Library Services Director Sharon

Cohen, took Wassem and other members of the Emerson PTA over to the

library to let them see what was available, Wassem said they were

like kids in a candy store. She called school district librarian


Paula Paggi to tell her about the treasure trove gathering dust in

the shuttered building.

Paggi, realizing there was sufficient equipment to enhance several

school libraries, alerted PTA members within the district and asked

them to lobby city officials to get the equipment donated to the

school district.

Judie Sarquiz, the city’s deputy financial services director, got

involved because her department is in charge of the city’s surplus



Normally, the city would auction off the surplus equipment, but

when employees from the city manager’s office and library told

Sarquiz the schools were interested, she said if the schools could

use it, they were welcome to it.

“We get pennies on the dollar when selling used equipment,”

Sarquiz said. “We’d much rather it stay here and benefit people in

the community then sell it.”

Other schools that will get equipment are Washington, Bret Harte

and Disney elementary schools, Magnolia Park Special Education

School, Jordan Middle School and Burbank High School.