GONZALES — Rotarian Mark LaCour is creating an environment conducive to learning — with bookcases.
For the second year, LaCour, the owner of Wright’s Furniture in Gonzales, provided 30 free bookcases to students at Gonzales Primary School to encourage them to read and provide them with a place to store their books, he said.
Quivander Davis, whose daughter, Destinae Anderson, 6, received a bookcase on March 3, said this will be the first bookcase she’s placed in her daughter’s room. She added that her daughter plans to stack it with the multitude of books in her daughter’s room.
“It will make her want to read more,” Davis said. “She has some (books) at home, but we will give her more; that way, she’ll have different options to read on different days.”
Prior to crafting the cases, LaCour provided books to youths for five years but said he “often wondered where they’d go.”
“People need someplace to store the books, and many people just don’t have that,” he said.
After checking with Rotary Clubs across the globe, LaCour couldn’t find any of the 1.2 million Rotarians who had provided bookcases to children. LaCour said he believes the new, freshly painted bookcases can provide a place for students to store books for a lifetime and envisions these students taking the bookcases with them to college.
LaCour, who built the bookcases in his garage at home, was inspired by a painting he saw in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City created by a German artist who believed television would be the end of literature and set out to prove him wrong.
“I think it promotes reading,” librarian Anne Bergeron said. “We’re in favor of them being lifelong readers and loving to read.”
While the bookcases were provided to pre-kindergarten students in 2014, kindergarten students who didn’t receive the cases last year, were chosen to receive them this year, LaCour said.
“To encourage reading, you need a quiet place, good light and some place to put the books,” LaCour told parents gathered for a brief overview before taking the cases home.
LaCour said the bookcases were an award to get students inspired about reading.
“This is your own personal space,” LaCour told the students. “The goal is to fill (the bookcase) up and give (students) journeys.
“Books are so important. They bring you places.”
In addition to receiving a bookcase, students received a metal place with their name inscribed on it that can be placed on the bookcase. They also received piggy banks to inspire them to begin saving.
Emily Mills, 6, a lover of all Dr. Seuss books, said she, too, plans to fill her bookcase with books she has at home and add more as she receives new ones.
At the end of the presentation, LaCour encouraged parents to read with their children so they will understand the stories and vocabulary contained inside each book.