RANTOUL — Students in Rantoul’s public elementary schools will have an expanded number of books from which to choose in their library, thanks to a gift from Rantoul American Legion Auxiliary.

Auxiliary President Lois Madden said the organization has been helping local schools for many years by contributing school supplies.

Auxiliary donates to Rantoul City Schools

Members of the Rantoul American Legion Auxiliary, Lois Madden, second from left, and Beverly Huckstep and Shirley Jones, front row, right, joined Rantoul City Schools instructional coaches to publicize the Auxiliary’s donation of $450 worth of books to RCS. Shown are, from left, Lindsay Rubach, Madden, Taylor Vogelsang, Mari Grant, Huckstep, Patricia Valente, Jones and Jenny Jamison.

“This year I decided we need to do something besides school supplies. I called Jenny (Jamison, an instructional coach for Rantoul City Schools), and she said, ‘We could use some books.’”

Money for purchase of the books came through donations and a raffle held two nights a month at the Legion.

“It’s our way of bringing in money since we don’t have bingo anymore,” Madden said. “A couple times we’ve had meals the first Saturday of every month, and that was another way we could raise money.”

The Legion Auxiliary contributed $450, which paid for about 75 books.

Jamison said the four elementary schools are working through a literacy initiative called Balanced Literacy.

“In a variety of ways we are bringing that to life, which includes cultural books that the students can see themselves in. That’s why you see a lot of Spanish books, children and characters of color and a mix of non-fiction as well as just fun books that students could read,” Jamison said.

“Building libraries, in classrooms, building a book room in each building we found we had a lot of holes for books that we needed for different grade levels.”