Students in teacher Stephen Round’s first-grade class at the Charles N. Fortes Elementary School Annex in Providence enjoy easy access to books in a former display case donated by the Brown Bookstore. Credit: John Abromowski / Brown University

Bookstore makeover yields shelves for Providence schools

What happens when renovations render 100 perfectly good oak display shelves obsolete? The answer for Brown was: Give them a home in the Providence public schools.
By Anne Diffily  |  April 7, 2009  |  Email to a friend

When renovation of the Brown Bookstore was nearly complete this fall and new fixtures had been ordered, 100 tall and short wooden bookcases faced imminent removal. 

A sturdy book display unit from Brown is just right for these first graders.:   A sturdy book display unit from Brown is just right for these first graders. Today those bookcases are installed in classrooms, libraries, and resource rooms at eight Providence public schools – four high schools, one middle school, and three elementary schools. Their journey was a short but challenging one across the city, given the weight and bulk of the gift and the subsequent cost of moving the oak-veneer units. Over the course of several months this winter, it was determinedly facilitated by staff in the Bookstore, facilities, and public affairs and University relations, and by the school department’s special projects director, Jose Gonzalez. Moving costs were paid by Brown.

A peek into a busy first-grade classroom at the Fortes Elementary School Annex demonstrates how versatile the bookcases are. Children crowd around low shelving units that contain science projects, activity supplies, and – surprise! – lots of books. Their smiles telegraph this saga’s happy ending.

Another unit provides space for science and nature learning.:   Another unit provides space for science and nature learning. “The support of Brown University as a community partner is a tremendous asset to the Providence Public Schools,” says Providence Schools Superintendent Thomas Brady in acknowledging the gift. “The donation of these bookcases to our schools is just one example of how our Providence community and higher education partners can lend a hand to enrich the teaching and learning experience in our schools.”