When Principal Marjorie Soto came on board at the Hurley K-8 School nine years ago, there was no library at the school. She knew that a school library is essential for developing a reading culture in a school, so creating a library space became one of her priorities. With the help of Librarian Jen Varney and the Hurley K-8 School community, they developed a library program for the school. Their vision for the school’s library space came to life this week when, thanks to Target and the Heart of America Foundation, the Hurley opened their beautiful, newly renovated school library.
One of School Librarian Jen Varney’s goals each year is to instill in her students a love for reading. Ms. Varney has always tried to create a welcoming library and to generate that excitement about reading. It is obvious that Hurley students have come to truly value how important their librarian and library are to them and to the school when, during the new library planning process, they were asked by Target what in the current library they absolutely had to have in the new library. Overwhelmingly, the students’ top two answers were, “Ms. Varney and our favorite books.”
Since Principal Soto has been at the helm of the Hurley, a dual language Spanish-English immersion school, and through the efforts of the entire Hurley School community, reading scores have soared with 90% of 3rd graders reading proficiently at or above grade level. So, when Target and Heart of America wanted to award the sixth consecutive Boston Target School Library Makeover to a school that is doing well with limited resources, the Hurley was the natural choice.
On Tuesday, June 10th, Boston’s Hurley K-8 School celebrated the opening of their new library. Mayor Walsh and other guests, including BPS Deputy Superintendent of Academics Eileen de los Reyes and former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, joined Principal Soto, Ms. Varney, Hurley K-8 students and staff to cut the ribbon on their beautiful new school library. “When you walk into a school, you can tell right away how a school is doing,” remarked Mayor Walsh, “and you can feel the love and the life in this school as soon as you come off the sidewalk.” In speaking to the Hurley students, Eileen de los Reyes noted, “Libraries are magical places. Always find in libraries a place where you can think and become great.” Principal Soto, referring to the Jorge Luis Borges quote “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”, thanked Target and Heart of America for “helping create our own paradise.”
Surprise guest Tim Wakefield attended as part of Target’s educational partnership with Major League Baseball. The former Red Sox Pitcher told students, “For me to be successful on the field I had to be successful in the classroom.”
As a result of the Target School Library Makeover, the library at the Hurley received brightly painted walls; new furniture; 2,000 new English and Spanish library books; iPads and Chromebooks.
Approximately 120 Target employees volunteered their time that day to shelve new books and assemble furniture, paint murals around the school, visit classrooms to run educational and fun activities, and help with other projects throughout the building. As part of the library makeover celebration, each student and his or her siblings also received a backpack filled with seven new books to add to their home libraries.
We are tremendously grateful to Target and their partners the Heart of America Foundation, Suffolk Construction, and others for this incredible gift to the Hurley K-8 School community. The new Hurley library space will inspire readers and learners for many years to come.