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Klatt Elementary School Debuts Book Van

Klatt staff with book van

Klatt Elementary School Behavior Teacher Expert Denise Pranger (left) and Klatt Librarian Genevieve Stephens display the Klatt Elementary Book Van at the Dimond Estates Mobile Home Park on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Louis Velasco/ASD)

Klatt Elementary School Librarian Genevie Stephens is trading the comforts of a cozy library for something a little more Alaskan – a cargo van and a tent.

School librarians started to brainstorm how to get books into students’ hands after the closure of District schools to in-person class. Stephens initially started small and began a curbside pick-up on Friday afternoons at Klatt. “It was great to see kids coming, but that wasn’t possible for my kids here at Dimond Estates,” explained Stephens.

Located off Dimond Boulevard near Minnesota Drive, the Dimond Estates Mobile Home Park accounts for 75% of the student enrollment at Klatt.

Realizing a missed opportunity if those students were underserved, Stephens retooled her ideas – only problem was, she lacked a vehicle. Luckily, help wasn’t far behind and Behavior Teacher Expert Denise Pranger lent a hand – or vehicle, in this case.

“She heard my idea and was like, ‘I got the van!’”

Art Teacher Barb Yanoshek created the banner for the van, and fifth-grade teacher Krista Sandhoefner provided the tent. Rubber hit the road once everything was ready. “It was kind of a group effort. It definitely takes a village,” Stephens said.

Once book reservations were made on Stephens’ Clever page, The Klatt Elementary Book Van delivered its first books on Wednesday, Sept. 30. 20-25 students arrived for the first day to pick up and return old books.

Oct. 7 was the second time at Dimond Estates, and it’s already making an impact, says Klatt Assistant Principal Mary Wood. “The students were thrilled to see their librarian, and parents were very happy to see their kids connected,” she explained.

Klatt students with librarian

Klatt Elementary students greet Librarian Genevieve Stephens at the main entrance of the Dimond Estates neighborhood on Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (Louis Velasco/ASD)

Whether walking, biking, or driving, students and family showed up – offering an encouraging glimpse of what a friendly neighborhood book van can look like for Klatt students.

The Klatt Elementary Book Van will continue as long as necessary. “This is my chance to connect and see them,” said Stephens. “I don’t care if only one student comes. That’s good enough for me.”

Curbside pick-up will still be available for Klatt students and families on Fridays from 1-3 p.m. and the Dimond Estates entrance on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m.