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Book bounty bestowed to Rea Elementary

City National Bank, Barnes & Noble give $12,000 in books, funds to the Costa Mesa school.

February 02, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com
  • Kimberly Henry, the librarian at Rea Elementary School, literally jumps with joy when Charles Mariano of City National Bank in Costa Mesa announces that the bank is donating extra money to the school's library during a morning assembly on Wednesday.
Kimberly Henry, the librarian at Rea Elementary School,… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Kimberly Henry, the library clerk at Rea Elementary School, has had to make do for the last three years without a budget for updating her bookshelves.

That shouldn't be a problem anymore.

On Wednesday morning, the school in Costa Mesa received nearly $12,000 in books and monetary donations to replenish its library.

The Fashion Island Barnes & Noble branch gave the school 780 books the store has collected through new book donations from customers, along with a matching cash donation of $5,666 from City National Bank — nearly double the amount school officials had anticipated.

"Oh, my God, I almost cried," Henry said after receiving the larger-than-expected check. "I can do so much with that."

Students, school officials and other Newport-Mesa Unified School District representatives gathered on the blacktop for a special presentation of the donations.

The students sat cross-legged as the wind blew their hair about, and they clapped and cheered when the announcement was made.

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"I'm very excited because they gave too much money for books," said Juan Perez, 11.

The fifth-grader said he reads 30 minutes every day, getting all of his books from the school library.

Juan isn't the only student who frequents the library. Most of the students don't use public libraries, relying instead on Rea's offerings, she said.

The school was one of 27 in California, Nevada and New York to receive books and money for their campus libraries through the City National Bank's "Reading is the Way Up" literacy program.

Another Costa Mesa school, Wilson Elementary, was also a recipient. Wilson Elementary received more than 500 books from Barnes & Noble.

On March 11, Wilson will receive a matching cash donation from City National Bank, said N-MUSD district spokeswoman Laura Boss.

The Los Angeles-based bank, which recently opened a branch in Costa Mesa, partnered with Barnes & Noble to match the book donations collected by the book chain during its annual Holiday Book Drive, with the cash equivalent, said Charles Mariano, vice president and manager of City National Bank's Costa Mesa branch.

In October, during the release of the latest "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," Barnes & Noble's Fashion Island store got involved with Rea Elementary at the school's book fair, said Michelle Fernandez, the branch's community relations manager.

Through the partnership, Fernandez said she saw the school's need and decided to collect books for Rea this year.

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