Students at Hawkins Elementary now have an enhanced library space to visit, complete with new computer desks, wall murals and colorful lounge furniture. The newly unveiled library renovation, aimed to inspire a love of learning through artistic spaces, is a provisional class project of Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg.
Each year, the chapter’s provisional class selects a community project to fund and complete as part of their volunteer service to children and families in Hattiesburg.
JA Provisional Class Member Ann Claire Kelly worked alongside her classmates to help make the artistic vision a reality for Hawkins students.
"We have thoroughly enjoyed working to create a fun and inviting space for the children of Hawkins Elementary School,” Kelly said. “From murals and new desks to rugs and fun lounge furniture, we hope the newly updated space inspires a love of reading and learning.”
The Junior Auxiliary worked in cooperation with school officials at Hawkins to maximize the impact of the library project.
Latisha Taylor, Hawkins Elementary librarian/media specialist , believes the renovation creates a more age-appropriate environment. The space was originally a junior high school library, not geared toward the district’s youngest students.
"This project enhances the learning experience for our students by bridging connections between literature and nonfiction books with our students’ prior knowledge and daily lives. It also enhances the visual appearance and nurturing atmosphere of Hawkins Elementary School library,” Taylor said. “These updates, which include new blinds, paint, furniture and art, all help to promote a positive, warm and inviting atmosphere for reading and research for our students and our teachers.”
Taylor said the renovation project also highlights the value of service to community by volunteer groups.
"A project like this helps to show students and teachers the level of commitment the Hattiesburg community has to the students and betterment of Hawkins Elementary School,” she said. “This project opens students’ eyes to their ability to use themselves and their talents as tools to help the world around us. It also promotes the importance of volunteer work for all ages by displaying first-hand how anyone, big or small, can assist with making a difference in the world around them.”
The provisional class has given approximately 100 hours volunteering to bring this project to fruition.
Kelly said the class had also worked with Hattiesburg High School students in Mrs. Bailey’s AP art class who contributed some artwork.
Neighbors at Hawkins representative Abigail Pickle is the one who brought this project to the attention of the Jr. Auxiliary.
“Without them we wouldn’t have known this need existed,” Kelly said. “They have actually gone through the library and reorganized the books in the Dewey Decimal system and contributed table organizers and additional materials. They have been a great resource.”
Taylor lauded the Neighbors at Hawkins program for their time, personal services and other endless things they have contributed to the Hawkins Elementary School Family.
“The children see them around, love them and we love them,” Taylor said. “They definitely work to make Hawkins a better place, a warmer place, an inviting environment."