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Martinez Kiwanis donates See’s Candy monies to area library programs

Holding $200 checks for their school library programs are the following Martinez Unified School District library staff members and their principals at the annual Kiwanis library/media luncheon meeting held Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016: (front row, from left) Tracey Yearick, library media assistant at Las Juntas elementary; Mary Rittenhouse, head librarian at Alhambra High School and Martinez Junior High School; Barbara Crowder, library media assistant at Alhambra; Kim Thompson, principal of John Muir elementary; Lori O'Connor, principal of Vicente Martinez and Briones high schools; Tom Doppe, principal of Alhambra High School; Aimee Roderick, library media assistant at Morello Park Elementary School; Ellen Visser, library media assistant at John Muir Elementary; and Karen Warnecke, library media assistant at Martinez Junior High School; (back row, from left) Harriett Burt, Kiwanis program co-chair for February, Michael Cannon, principal of John Swett Elementary; Michael DeFrancesco, principal of Martinez Junior High School; Rami Muth, MUSD superintendent; C. J. Cammack, deputy superintendent for personnel; and Migs Carter (LORENA CASTILLO / Courtesy)
Holding $200 checks for their school library programs are the following Martinez Unified School District library staff members and their principals at the annual Kiwanis library/media luncheon meeting held Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016: (front row, from left) Tracey Yearick, library media assistant at Las Juntas elementary; Mary Rittenhouse, head librarian at Alhambra High School and Martinez Junior High School; Barbara Crowder, library media assistant at Alhambra; Kim Thompson, principal of John Muir elementary; Lori O’Connor, principal of Vicente Martinez and Briones high schools; Tom Doppe, principal of Alhambra High School; Aimee Roderick, library media assistant at Morello Park Elementary School; Ellen Visser, library media assistant at John Muir Elementary; and Karen Warnecke, library media assistant at Martinez Junior High School; (back row, from left) Harriett Burt, Kiwanis program co-chair for February, Michael Cannon, principal of John Swett Elementary; Michael DeFrancesco, principal of Martinez Junior High School; Rami Muth, MUSD superintendent; C. J. Cammack, deputy superintendent for personnel; and Migs Carter (LORENA CASTILLO / Courtesy)

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Countless Martinez and area residents and their friends and families enjoyed See’s Candy during the holiday season, purchased at the two See’s Candy locations operated by Martinez Kiwanis. The proceeds from their purchases provided a gift for the dedicated library staff and students of the Martinez Unified School District.

Staff members and administrators were guests of Kiwanis on Feb. 25, when they were presented with checks for $200 to purchase books for their schools. Proceeds of the 2015 Kiwanis See’s Candy Sale, totaling $2,000, was awarded to 10 libraries in the Martinez Unified School District, as well as the Friends of the Martinez Library and the Martinez Community Academy.

Mary Rittenhouse, head librarian at Alhambra and Martinez Junior High, spoke briefly about the use of traditional books as well as new media in the schools and the focus on developing not only research skills but the importance of being able to evaluate the accuracy of the information they find, whether in traditional books or on the Internet. Each library/media assistant then explained how the money is used in their schools and helps aid student learning. Some the books purchased in the last year with the Kiwanis donation were passed around for members to see.

“What I love about this program is something Mary Rittenhouse touched upon,” said Kiwanis president Lorena Castillo, “which is, books are here to stay until everybody has universal access to the Internet.

“This program helps purchase the latest books so that students are exposed to the most current information and literature available.”

While also supporting the expanding use of technology, Castillo pointed out that for some people, books will always be preferred over other media. She counts herself as one who prefers the tactile experience of paper.

“I love the smell of books and newspapers,” she said.

The library program was established by Kiwanis in 2004 and has distributed nearly $24,000 to local schools and the public library for their library/media programs over the past 12 years. Guest speakers at the club’s weekly Kiwanis meetings receive a certificate of thanks at the end of their talk and are notified that a bookplate with their name on it will be placed in a book in one of the local libraries. Speakers often express their appreciation of being thanked in that way.

Club member Laura Febus, retired curriculum director of Martinez Unified School District, organizes the luncheon meeting, prepares the bookplates and compiles a packet with each school’s check and the name plates for the new books they will purchase.

For more information about Martinez Kiwanis, email Lorena Castillo at locaworks@gmail.com.

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