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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Wheaton book fair brings $3,000 to be used in Library

Due to COVID-19 shutdowns last year, many school districts, including Wheaton, did not host an annual Scholastics Book Fair.

The last Scholastics Book Fair in Wheaton was in 2019, tallying $1,978.88 in sales.

Twyla McInturff, K-12 library media specialist and seventh and eighth grade STEM teacher, said her largest fair ever in 29 years as a librarian was $2,598 in sales.

This year eclipsed any previously known records

“Our final total was $6,021.73,” she said. “That is amazing. And, I get to use 50 percent of that money to put back into the library with books and supplies from Scholastic.”

The Scholastics Book Fair was held April 12-16.

“I’m not sure if it is just one thing that contributed to this year’s success,” she said. “Maybe because we didn’t get one last year, students were really interested in participating, or maybe it was just a little bit of normalcy that we have all needed.”

McInturff said between the Scholastic representative, the Wheaton superintendent and the building principals, Wheaton was prepared for this event.

“It was just fantastic,” she said. “We were able to get everything we asked for, and the rep sent quality stuff. There was a great $5-and-under category and great stuff for the upper grades.”

McInturff said she thinks promoting the event on social media helped quite a bit as well.

“I thought I read the receipt wrong,” she said. “We have to credit the parents for the success also. This year, we didn’t allow parents into the building, so they had to just send money or do it on the E-wallet.”

The Scholastics rep told McInturff that while she has seen better fairs this year, she has not seen one with that kind of increase.

“I went ahead and pulled some of the popular titles from the fair to get in the library,” she said. “I will use the 50 percent mostly on books, but sometimes they have other supplies that will benefit the library.”

McInturff said she is retiring after this year, so she can’t imagine a better way to leave than on such positive note.

“In my experience, I always try to get the award winning books,” she said. “But also hard cover, because they last longer. I listen to what the students talk about and look at what is popular.”

The ‘I Survived’ books are always popular, and now they are in graphic novel form.

“I look at the areas in the library that need a boost,” McInturff said. “I buy for kindergarten through 12th grade. The area of award winning fiction is pretty well used by the high school, and in the elementary section, I will look to replace some of the good ones that have been used and worn out.”

McInturff said the elementary tend to check books out more frequently, so she will focus a little bit more on that side this year.

“Also, I love decorating for the book fair,” she said. “I think that helps get the students excited. I talk about it and start decorating about a month before. The high school students love it just as much as the elementary students do.”

McInturff said she wasn’t sure if she would have a book fair this year, but with the hard work from all those involved, it was a huge success.

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