CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Six Charleston County schools have been awarded grants to update their library collections, the Charleston County School District (CCSD) announced Thursday.

Chicora Elementary School, Deer Park Middle School, Hunley Park Elementary School, Military Magnet Academy, North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School, and Sanders Clyde Elementary School were among 300 schools nationwide to receive funding from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

“Students across the country turn to books to discover the world around them, and we know that opening a new book opens the door to new opportunities and learning,” Bush said in a CCSD news release.

District officials said the $5,000 grants will be used to update school libraries to “reflect students’ reading interests and backgrounds.”

“Our school library should allow students to peer into the lives and experiences of others, to give them glimpses into cultures and traditions different from their own so that stereotypes and discriminatory ideas are pushed aside, making room for accurate and authentic representations of real people in our world,” Alexandra Magee, teacher librarian at Hunley Park Elementary, said.

Several of the schools’ librarians said they plan to expand their collections to include more books in other languages, specifically Spanish and Portuguese.

“Our school has a growing and diverse population of multilingual learners,” Dana Anderson, teacher-librarian at Deer Park Middle School said. “The funds from this grant will be used to purchase books in languages and formats that support and encourage all of our students to become lifelong readers.”  

Other educators said they will use the grant funding to supplement classroom instruction.

“Melissa Zahler, teacher librarian at Chicora Elementary, plans to focus these grant funds on expanding the nonfiction section of her library to support recent changes to the state’s science and social studies standards,” a news release states. “She also wants to offer additional engaging books about topics that captivate students’ interest like animals, space, history, and biographies.”

Since 2002, the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries has awarded $21 million to more than 3,600 schools across the country.

Four CCSD schools — Springfield Elementary School, Pepperhill Elementary School, Burke High School, and R.B. Stall High School — were awarded the same grants in November 2022.