By Kelly Werthmann


DENVER (CBS4) – Ask a kid what they like, and they’ll probably tell you about a game or toys.

“I’m 13, almost 14 and I still play with Legos,” Alyna Heard, an 8th grade student, said.

(credit: CBS)

So when Skinner Middle School surveyed students for how to improve the library, the answer wasn’t much of a surprise.

“Overwhelmingly, Legos was top,” Dawn Lewallen, the school’s librarian, told CBS4.

(credit: CBS)

Lewallen came up with the idea a few months ago to ask students what activities they’d like to create a “Library of Their Dreams.” She did so because she believes learning goes beyond what’s found in books.

“I truly believe a library is the hub of a school and should be the hub of a school,” she explained. “It should be a place where kids feel comfortable. Too often when we’re in the classroom there’s all these rules. I want [the library] to be somewhere they just feel they can be who they want to be.”

(credit: CBS)

Based on the results of the survey, the Skinner library will soon have four “creation stations” – a place for board games and puzzles, a Lego building station, as well as a corner to make videos and a spot for sewing.

“I don’t have that kind of stuff at home, so it’s good to come to school and be like, ‘Oh, I can sew here, like some ripped jeans,’” 8th grader Rachel Lucero said.

Rachel’s classmate and friend said she, too, is excited by the idea of having a sewing station in the library.

(credit: CBS)

“I’ve always wanted to sew,” she said. “My grandma sews, and she makes blankets and everything. I think [the creation stations] will be put to good use.”

“If it’s not what they want,” Lewallen said of students, “they’re not going to come and so we need to make sure we are offering what the students need.”

In order to make the “Library of Their Dreams” a reality, the school is asking for the community’s help. They need gently-used board games and, of course, Legos, but are also asking for sewing machines and thread.

Dawn Lewallen (credit: CBS)

“We have lots of fabric remnants that are being donated,” Lewallen said. “But even patterns would be wonderful so that way the students can practice. We also need the plates for Legos so that we can actually have something where the kids can build upon, that would be amazing.”

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Many people have already contributed to the library project, raising enough money with an online fundraiser to pay for the video creation station.

“Even a teacher from California donated saying she just loved that we’re doing this for our students,” Lewallen said.

And it means the world to Skinner Middle School students as their library dreams are coming true.

“It just feels good to know that people care,” Alyna said.

If you’d like to donate to the Skinner Middle School library project, Lewallen said to send an email her way — dawn_lewallen@dpsk12.org.

Kelly Werthmann

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