Local Insurance Agent Donates Funds for School Library Books

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Students at Austintown Elementary School recently received a new classroom activity and 35 new books to fill their library shelves.

Jamie Blott, a local State Farm insurance agent, said she learned about the elementary school’s library program for its kindergarteners and first- and second-graders and was given the opportunity with State Farm to donate the Sparky the Fire Dog rescue kit, which includes a lesson plan about fire safety and related props – such as fire hats and coloring books – for the students.

“I learned that the library at the school relies heavily on donations from the community – either monetary donations or books to fill the library,” she said.

When visiting the library to deliver the activity materials last Wednesday, Blott also donated $250 of her own money to purchase the new books for the library. The decision was inspired by a discussion of the program at the Rotary Club of Austintown.

Austintown Elementary School students display books from the Sparky the Fire Dog kit that was donated to the school.

“My son goes to Austintown, and I pretty much support anything Austintown related,” she said. “When they were there speaking to us, I was like, ‘How can I get involved?’”

Books were chosen by the school and purchased from Leana’s Books & More in Austintown.

Marianne Minardi, first- and second-grade librarian, said the donation doesn’t just benefit one child in one year.

“A lot of these kids don’t have books at home, so this is their way of getting to read and get enriched into reading,” she said.

Although the PTA often donates money, the school does not fund the library, Minardi said. Donations give the library the opportunity to replace old or ruined books and add new ones. 

“We are still trying to recoup from COVID,” she said. “We lost a lot of books during COVID because the kids didn’t return them. We haven’t recuperated from the loss.”

Kelly Constance, preschool and kindergarten librarian, said they are grateful for the contributions, and those interested in donating can call 330 797 3901 and ask for her or Minardi.

Pictured at top: From left, Holly Welch, Austintown Elementary School assistant principal; Marianne Minardi, first- and second-grade librarian; Jamie Blott, a local State Farm insurance agent; and Kelly Constance, kindergarten librarian.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.