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Libraries Change Lives – World Wide

March 12, 2012

by John Hunziker, Communications Manager

The Learning RoomA thank you letter was read and discussed at a recent Friends of the Library Board meeting referencing 214 children’s books that were donated by the Friends to a Learning Room in Arad Gai, Romania. The mystery lover in me had to learn more.

Our Rochester community seems to do a lot through networking, here is the story:
A young woman, Melissa, works at the Rochester Downtown Alliance and has been part of an international studies program through St. Mary’s University. While there, she and another student, Alin C. Arsenov from Romania, got to talking and they decided to find a way to provide books and educational materials to those students who most need them. Alin was familiar with what had happened in his home town of Arad Gai where two kindergartens and one school had closed and the remaining school was tragically overcrowded.
“My Learning Room” is a space that is provided by a home in the Arad Gai neighborhood where children can gather and check out educational materials, similar to a library, and mentors are available to work with children a few times a week to develop their educational interests.

The networking happened through a connection at Melissa’s church where a member of the Friends of the Library and Melissa began talking and Melissa was put in touch with Pat Stephenson, a former para at the library at Bamber School and big time volunteer at the Rochester Library. If there is one thing that the Friend’s do well, it’s books. Our community is incredibly generous with its book donations to the library and Pat had no trouble coming up with 214 books and had them shipped to Romania.

Following are a few excerpts from the thank you letters that were sent back to the Friends: “When Alin and I decided to start My Learning Room to provide educational materials to those students who most need them, we knew that it would be the generosity of others that would change the lives of the children we touch…..I am a firm believer that together, we can move mountains! Your help is making it possible for the first My Learning Room library to move mountains in the lives of the children living in Arad Gai.”

“My Learning Room was born to voice out a basic, yet so meaningful belief that making a difference in one individual’s life can mean changing the world to a better place! Children here (in Arad Gai) are in the process of learning English, and books are a great benefit for their learning process. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your donation.”

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