School collaborates with Heights businesses to make book fair local
In the vast third-floor library at Communion of Saints School, the school’s volunteer librarians take very seriously the task of helping students find their “book match”—whether it’s the newest Newbery Medal winner, a book about sports, a graphic novel, or material to help with a school report. They note student requests for books that aren’t part of the library’s collection, and follow book releases and national library lists to stay on top of the most recent titles. Then, they compile wish lists and start preparing for the school book fair.
Tired of the highly commercialized fairs that seem to be part of today’s “big-box” school book-fair experience, the librarians brainstormed better ways to fundraise for their library. They wanted the best quality books for students and, knowing Cleveland Heights’ rich history of supporting libraries and independent bookstores, wanted to keep things local.
Appletree Books, at 12419 Cedar Road, is a half-mile down the road from Communion of Saints School. After meeting with owner Lynn Quintrell, the school set its book fair for Nov. 2, at Appletree.
There, in the warmth of Quintrell’s beautiful store, students, parents and parishioners browsed the bookshelves and shopped from the thoughtfully curated library and teacher wish lists, to benefit the school’s library and PTO.
Throughout the day, students took turns sitting at tables in Appletree’s front windows, working on personal stories, comic strips, plays and illustrations, in honor of National Novel Writing Month. Afterward, many families enjoyed an additional fundraiser, held next door at Vero Pizza Napoletana.
Thanks to the generosity of Appletree and Vero, as well as the support of Communion of Saints School families and friends, the school library is well stocked with excellent new titles. While helping to support two local businesses, the event also fostered a broader sense community. Supporters of Communion of Saint Catholic School, which has been part of Cleveland Heights for more than 100 years, feel it’s imperative to support the people and businesses of Cleveland Heights, as well.
Eileen Ryan Ewen is a local artist and children's book illustrator living in Cleveland Heights. She's also a volunteer librarian at Communion of Saints School, and mother to students who attend the school.