SJCL’s 10th Annual O’Neill Drive is Another One for the Books

Cole Elementary School students open up their new books donated by San Joaquin College of Law through the Elizabeth O’Neill Book Drive. (Contributed by San Joaquin College of Law)

San Joaquin College of Law Facilities Manager Rick Rodriguez found himself and his truck swarmed by 20 eager Cole Elementary students Monday morning as he delivered 529 books from the annual Elizabeth O’Neill Book Drive.

“I felt like Santa Claus,” Rodriguez said. “I never saw kids fight over wanting to carry boxes.”

The students’ excitement was exceeded only by that of Cole Librarian Carrie Haines, who bought nearly 1,000 books last year, but admits she has “nothing on the bottom shelves at all” throughout the school library.

Cole Elementary will split the bounty of books with Mountain View Elementary, a fellow Title I school.

In addition to beefing up the shelves, Haines says some books will go toward a special library for kids on home hospice. She added that duplicates will be used to help build classroom libraries, and even destroyed books will be used for art projects in the Program for the Acquisition of Language and Social Skills (PALS).

Over the past decade, San Joaquin College of Law has delivered 3,923 books to Title I elementary schools in Clovis Unified through the O’Neill Book Drive.