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LETTER: 'Books for Bill' Seeking Donations

A committee's been formed to make sure that the Thompson School's Bill Shea Library is well-stocked when it opens next fall.

The following is a Letter to the Editor from Sheri Baron on behalf of the "Books for Bill" Committee.

This past summer we lost a very beloved member of our community. Bill Shea had long served Arlington as a member of Town Meeting, the Arlington Human Rights Commission, and the Permanent Town Building Committee, among many other civic and cultural pursuits. Bill was a champion for our town’s school system, as evidenced by his tireless advocacy and work on re-building Arlington’s schools.

Bill was an avid reader, and a firm believer that education, particularly reading, could make a critical difference in the lives of young people. Bill often cited “The Little Engine that Could” to motivate young and old alike.

Last spring, the Arlington School Committee honored Bill with their decision to name the Thompson School Library after him. He was humbled by their decision. Bill would, however, be dismayed to learn that the Thompson School Library is the least well-stocked of the seven elementary schools in town. The elementary school libraries are funded solely by the PTO and school sources. There is no funding from the school department and as a result, there is not parity among the seven schools with regard to their offerings. The Thompson School serves the most diverse part of our community.

To ensure that the new library is well-stocked when the school opens next fall, a group of people who have worked with Bill in many community organizations in which he served have organized a “Books for Bill” campaign. There are seven contribution levels, ranging from $49 and less to $10,000 and above. All contributors will be recognized at a “Books for Bill” event in the Spring of 2013.

The author Stephen King once said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” We believe Bill would be thrilled to know that the Thompson School’s students will be surrounded by that magic on the bookshelves of the Bill Shea Library when it opens in the new Thompson School in the fall of 2013.

Kindly mail your donation to Liza Halley, 94 Grafton St., Arlington, MA 02474. Checks should be made out to Town of Arlington with “Books for Bill” donation, Thompson School noted on the memo line.

Online donations can be made through the Arlington Community Education homepage at www.arlingtoncommunityed.org

If you are interested in joining the “Books for Bill” committee or would like further information, please contact either John Cole at john@johncolearchitect.com (781-641-0791) or Clarissa Rowe at clarissa.rowe@comcast.net or 781-643-3156.

All contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Sheri Baron 
For the “Books for Bill” Committee

John Cole and Clarissa Rowe, co-chairs 
Janice Bakey 
Jane Biondi 
Judi Bohn 
John Deyst 
Mary Deyst 
Robert Lowe 
Raymond Lum 
Jeff Thielman 
Louise Tsoi 
Ed Tsoi

Tim December 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
This is nice and all .but I have a an issue with people looking for donations for a public school. Especially in this town with all the overrides and tax increases ..Shame on the town and it's leaders ....
Stephen December 26, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Tim, You make a great point. When I asked Town Meeting for $20,000 to replace all of the decrepit football helmets last spring, one very politically active member asked me before the vote why I did not try to get private fund raising. What struck me as odd, was just before my presentation, Town Meeting and this member voted overwhelmingly to approve an appropriation put forth by Clarissa Rowe for $20,000 for the *design* of four signs directing tourists to four private non-profits. Needless to say, the politically connected member voted for the sign appropriation and against the helmet appropriation. The hypocrisy is incredible. Town Meeting and those who rule Arlington vote $20,000 of public funds to design four signs for their favored non-profits, while at the same time rejecting funding for safety equipment for public school kids. The thing I found most ironic is some of the School Committee members who are on Town Meeting voted against increased funding, instead voting for the signs. Just shows that town governance is a small club where some people get whatever they want, while the sheeple can't get books for their kids to read or helmets to protect their kids.
Phyllis Sharon December 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Will the school consider accepting donations of gently used books? I go to many yard sales in Arlington, and I am always amazed at the number of children's books that are put out for sale. I suspect that a book collection might yield a large number of books that the librarians would consider appropriate for the grammar school. And then the funds that are raised could be used for books that the book drive does not gather. I'd even be willing to work on a book drive... phyllis

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