Cush­man class­rooms to be used for li­brary

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THREE RIVERS EDITION - BY MARK BUF­FALO Staff Writer

CUSH­MAN — An idea for a com­mu­nity li­brary in­side the old Cush­man Pub­lic Schools build­ing is be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

Becky Wood, who taught at Cush­man for 35 years un­til the school con­sol­i­dated with the Batesville School Dis­trict in 2009, sug­gested to Cush­man Mayor Joey Parks that part of the old school build­ing could be used for a li­brary.

“The Batesville School Dis­trict ac­quired the Cush­man cam­pus af­ter con­sol­i­da­tion,” Wood said. “Within the past few months, Batesville deeded the cam­pus back over to the city of Cush­man. As a re­sult, the city is go­ing to use one of the build­ings for a town hall. I sug­gested to the mayor that we put a li­brary in­side the same build­ing.

“The coun­cil thought it was a good idea.” Wood was the li­brar­ian at the Cush­man school when it closed. She is cur­rently founder and op­er­a­tor of the Cush­man Her­itage Mu­seum.

“There are a lot of books left up there from the Cush­man School Li­brary,” Wood said. “We al­ready have a start. We’ve also had a lot of books do­nated.”

Gwen Good­win, a fifth-grader at Ea­gle Moun­tain El­e­men­tary School and the daugh­ter of Josh and Tr­ish Good­win, wanted to help raise money for the li­brary. Josh Good­win is a

mem­ber of the Cush­man City Coun­cil.

“I just re­ally wanted to help our com­mu­nity out,” Gwen said. “My dad is a mem­ber of the Cush­man City Coun­cil, and he was talk­ing about the li­brary. I al­ways loved to read.”

“Gwen Good­win lives in Cush­man, and her fam­ily are na­tives of Cush­man,” Wood said. “She’s very re­spon­si­ble and com­mu­nity-minded. She’s in the EAST Pro­gram at Ea­gle Moun­tain. She de­cided she wanted her project to be to raise money to help with the li­brary. She’s done an out­stand­ing job.”

Gwen said she has raised more than $300.

“Our school, we have a hat-wear­ing day ev­ery Fri­day,” she said. “Some of that money came from hats.”

Tr­ish Good­win said stu­dents must pay at least $1 to wear a hat dur­ing the des­ig­nated day.

“Also, we sat boxes around our school in each hall­way,” Gwen said. “We had stu­dents put their money in an

en­ve­lope, and we had them put their en­ve­lope in the box.”

Wood said the li­brary al­ready has a board of di­rec­tors.

“In the build­ing that they are go­ing to use for the city, we’re go­ing to use two of the large class­rooms, and we’re go­ing to put in a dou­ble door­way

so we’ll have a large area for the li­brary,” Wood said. “Vol­un­teers will run it and staff it, raise money for it. It will be a com­mu­nity project. I’ve al­ready had lots of peo­ple vol­un­teer to help with it. It’s very ex­cit­ing for our com­mu­nity.

“We want to reach out to all ages — chil­dren, as well as adults, and the older seg­ment. That’s how we’re start­ing.”

Wood es­ti­mated that the li­brary could open in two to three months.

“There is shelv­ing on the walls in the other build­ing not be­ing used,” Wood said. “We plan to have those re­moved and put around the walls in the two class­rooms we’re go­ing to be us­ing. We’ve got hun­dreds and hun­dreds of books to move from one build­ing into the other. We need to do some main­te­nance in­side the class­rooms, and we’ll have to have the dou­ble-door con­struc­tion done ahead of time.”

STACI VANDAGRIFF/THREE RIVERS EDI­TION

Gwen Good­win, from left, and her mother, Tr­ish, and for­mer Cush­man Schools li­brar­ian Becky Wood, stands in­side what will be the new com­mu­nity li­brary at the for­mer Cush­man school build­ing. Gwen, a fifth-grader at Ea­gle Moun­tain El­e­men­tary School in Batesville, raised more than $300 to help kick-start the li­brary.

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