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Dayton Elementary students benefit from book deliveries

DAYTON — “Have books, will travel.”

With those words, Donnie Underwood described what she does every other week to bring books to children at Dayton Elementary School.

Underwood, who lives in Rollins, is a retired schoolteacher who volunteers at West Shore Community Library in Lakeside.

Last spring she and her husband, Jeff, began delivering books to the school, and the kids loved it.

Jamie Bartel, the school’s reading teacher, said Underwood brings the books to her reading classes every other Thursday afternoon.

“It’s like Christmas,” said Bartel, who teaches grades three through six. “She gets them so excited about reading.”

Bartel appreciates Underwood’s support.

“It’s pretty neat because we’re pretty isolated out here,” Bartel said.

The six-classroom, 50-student school has a library and a librarian who visits once a week, but Underwood’s visits are special.

“I really love having Donnie bring us books,” student Ella Schmeusser wrote to the library on Jan. 5. “She always comes in with a smile and more books than anyone would expect.”

Some of the students have also signed up — through Underwood — for library cards.

Underwood is committed to the program. She made jams for Christmas and the $304 in profits went to buying new children’s books for the library.

Underwood is not the only one who helps. Lakeside resident Louise Redfield made and sold baby sweaters for a profit of some $900, Underwood said.

Those are just two of the many volunteers at the West Shore Community Library, which receives no state funding and raises more than $37,000 each year, according to library spokeswoman Carol Cory.

The library is hosting a “Library Lovers’ Benefit” that features wine, dinner, dancing and raffle and door prizes at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell. Call 406-844-2230 to RSVP by Feb. 7.

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