WALLAGRASS, Maine — It was Jamie Pelletier’s first day on the job as librarian for SAD 27, and she had long thought about what she would like to do to the library in Wallagrass Elementary School, one of five schools in the district.
During the final year in her tenure as a fourth-grade teacher in the district, Pelletier wrote a grant application to secure $50,000 to help build a new library at the school.
Last Christmas, she submitted the application to the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and continued teaching until school got out in June.
On Monday, she received an unexpected gift.
“During the afternoon I opened a small, unassuming envelope with the King Foundation logo on it, expecting a rejection letter,” she recalled. “When I opened it, a piece of paper fell out. I bent down to get it, but I almost fell over when I picked it up and saw a check in the full amount of my request.”
The Bangor-based foundation bestowed $50,000 toward the library project.
Pelletier said she hopes eventually to raise $115,000 to renovate the existing library, which is housed in two adjoining closet-size rooms. There are three tables and a few shelves for books and not much else.
“It is hard to move in there,” Pelletier acknowledged Wednesday. “It is hard to maneuver around without bruising your legs on the corners of tables and counters.”
Pelletier wants to give the students a more modern library with a computer, new books, a reading loft and more comfortable seating and tables. She envisions a spiral staircase leading up to the loft, where students can go and “disappear” into their books.
With nearly half of the money raised, Pelletier said she would continue to write grants and try to secure additional money locally. The new library would be added on to an existing wing of the school, which educates approximately 100 students.
Those who would like to contribute to the Soldier Pond Library Project may send donations to P.O. Box 9, Wallagrass 04781.