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Perrysburg Junior High's Power of the Pen club lends a hand to libraries

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Students from Perrysburg Junior High School who are reaching out to help their library and the flood-damaged Outam County Library in Ottawa are, from left, rear: Johnny Schaefer, Alexa Spudie, Lena Salpietro, Brooke Wiland, and B.J. Bentley, all eighth graders. Seated, from left: Colleen Gray and Abbey Bradberry, both sixth graders. Students from Perrysburg Junior High School who are reaching out to help their library and the flood-damaged Putnam County Library in Ottawa, at the school's library.

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Perrysburg Junior High's Power of the Pen club is donating its members' writing skills to this year's school book fair.

The book fair, in addition to raising money for the school library, is collecting books to send to the Putnam County District Library, whose main branch in Ottawa lost about 11,000 volumes, or a sixth of its collection, to flooding in August.

To lend a hand, some of the eighth graders in the writing club have put together promotional copy that might have come from Madison Avenue.

A couple of samples:

"Have you finished a great book in a series and you want to read on? Has one of your friends recommended a book to you? If so, then you should come and enjoy the Scholastic Book Fair!" wrote Alexa Spudie.

Lena Salpietro tried a slightly different approach: "Tired of looking through the shelves of bookstores? Here's your chance to step out of those endless aisles and step into Perrysburg Junior High's Scholastic Book Fair."

The book fair runs Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the junior high library.

The public is encouraged to donate books and money to the fair. Books also are for sale, and a special allotment will be sent to the Putnam County library, which has an acute need for children's board books - "Our entire collection was lost," said Kelly Ward, the Putnam County system's director.

The book fair's sponsor is the Perrysburg Junior High Parents' Organization. Last year the event raised $1,400 for the junior high library and $1,000 for the parents' group, which used the money for school projects and activities, according to Cathy Stoldt, the parent volunteer who is coordinating the fair.

Junior high students have produced a video podcast about the fair that will be shown on WPJH, the school's in-house TV station.

Past fairs have averaged about 200 donated books each year, Ms. Stoldt said. Books donated to previous fairs have been given to a school in Mississippi that was hit by Hurricane Katrina and an Appalachian school, she added.

Ms. Ward said even a couple hundred books would make a difference for her library.

"We had three feet of water on the first floor. We've opened a temporary branch. It'll be six months before we'll be back in business. Every little thing helps," she explained.

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