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AJHS joins Barnes & Noble Book Fair fundraiser

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 12th, 2013

Amboy Junior High seventh graders pose by a Bookfair poster announcing the 6th Annual Barnes & Noble Bookfair, which will take place on Nov. 24. This year for the first time, the junior high is participating in the popular fundraiser to benefit the school libraries. (News photo by Bonnie Morris)

ROCKFORD – After five years of successful Barnes & Noble Bookfairs, this year Amboy High School will be joined by Amboy Junior High to make the fundraising event even bigger. Started in 2008 by school librarian Mary Jo Zinke, the Barnes & Noble Bookfair has been a creative way to get new books on the shelves of the high school library at no cost to the district as well as offering a day of fun for AHS students and their families.

This year, Zinke has expanded the fundraising effort by including Amboy Junior High. “The junior high kids are still into reading - they read a lot,” Zinke said of the younger students. “I have a book fair here in the junior high library but it doesn’t get the volume of sales, so I decided to bring the junior high in and do Barnes & Noble for grades 5-12. It will be better for both school libraries.”

The 6th Annual Barnes & Noble Bookfair is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Cherry Vale Mall in Rockford. This year’s event will again include features such as gift-wrapping done by student groups, music provided by the AHS chorus and storybook reading done by AHS senior football players for children.

Zinke said last year’s profit of $3,400 made Amboy the second largest book fair at the Rockford Barnes & Noble, coming in second to Boylan High School in Rockford. “For a small community like us to be second to a big school in Rockford - to have that kind of success - I thought let’s add the junior high and go right past Boylan this year,” she said, showing her competitive spirit. “I’m hoping to raise at least $5,000 this year.”

Anyone who shops at a Barnes & Noble on Nov. 24 can help the Amboy Bookfair raise money. Shoppers must use a school voucher when checking out at the register or have the school’s ID number (#11148921). The school will receive credit for 20 percent of purchases up to $10,000. Once the total goes over $10,000, they will receive 25 percent. As in past years, friends and family across the country can use the Amboy ID number on Nov. 24 at any Barnes & Noble nationwide. Their purchases will also count toward the total for Amboy.

In addition to books, other Barnes & Noble merchandise such as educational and instructional toys, games, puzzles, music CDs and DVDs all count toward the Bookfair total. Although purchases made in Starbuck’s Café will not count toward the total, Zinke said Starbuck’s will serve free samples of “Clipper Crunch Cappuccino” most of the day.

This week, Zinke will be visiting the junior high classrooms to explain details of the Bookfair to students. She is also receiving promotional help from students in Mrs. Cleary’s art classes who are making posters. As an incentive, each junior high student will have a punch card and receive punches for attending, for bringing people other than their parents, and for purchases. “Every student who comes will receive a reward,” she said.

Although Zinke has used some of the money raised at previous Bookfairs to purchase books for the junior high library, now the students in grades 5-8 will have the chance to be actively involved in the fundraiser. “Once they realize it’s also for the junior high, I hope we will have a very successful event,” she said.

“I have a great group of readers at the junior high,” Zinke added. “The fifth graders come in and they’re really excited about reading and having new books. When there’s a series they like, they really keep track of when the next book is coming out and ask me when I’m going to have it in the library. Having a Barnes & Noble gift card that we’ve earned will help me stay on top of the series and getting them right away for the kids.”

Zinke said adding the junior high this first year will be a test run in planning for the future. “It’s exhausting at times and I get stressed out promoting but I do what I can,” Zinke said with a laugh. “I want to do better every year, and every year it has gotten better. Most importantly, it’s just a fun day.”

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