Pacific Palisades Rotary Delivers Books to Watts School

The Pacific Palisades Rotary Club has adopted an elementary school library project for the 2017-18 year, through Access Books. The club’s ultimate goal is to completely redo and stock a library at this inner-city school.

Eight rotarians completed the first phase of the project by delivering 1,500 books to 500 students at Weigand Avenue Elementary School in Watts on November 2. Each student in kindergarten through fifth grade received books.

“The principal told us it was the event of the year,” said Rotarian Brett Bjornson. “We were told that the kids generally had no books at home and the kids were ‘lit’ [excited].”

In the spring, the Rotarians will refurbish and restock the school’s library.

Children at Weigand Avenue Elementary received new books from the Palisades Rotary Club.

Access Books founder Rebecca Constantino, who was honored as a CNN Hero, told the Rotarians that children on the Westside generally have more access to books in their homes than children in South L.A. have in their homes, schools or neighborhoods. The nonprofit provides books to inner-city schools, where 90 percent of the students live at or below the poverty line. Since 1999, Access Books has donated more than a million books.

The Palisades Rotarians must raise $24,000 for the two-step project. About $4,000 was needed for the book giveaway and the remaining funds will be used to fix and stock the library. So far, the club—with some help from the community—has raised $7,800.

At the end of January, Rotary members will have a table at the Palisades Farmers Market, accepting pledges. If you would like to donate towards Weigand Avenue’s library, make a (tax-deductible) check payable to

Pacific Palisades Rotary Club Foundation c/o Bjornson, 201 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90401. All proceeds go to Access Books.

The Rotarians will also accept donated “like new” books that are age-appropriate for K-5 students.

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