Students at Meridian Parent Partnership Program Create Free Library

The free library at the Meridian Parent Partnership Program (MP3) came to life after a persuasive writing assignment completed by fourth graders in Janet Giesen’s class.

In 2019, Giesen introduced the persuasive writing assignment. Each student is asked to write their own persuasive essay, but the first one they all work on together. The students chose the topic of writing a persuasive essay about creating a free library at MP3 with Principal Michelle Siadal as the audience.

“They really tried to customize their argument to the principal,” Giesen said. “They tried to think about what she cares about, like kids and she cares about reading.”

After the essay was complete, students sent it to Principal Siadal. She came to the class and interviewed them to learn more about the free library project.

“To see the excitement in the students was incredible as they presented their little free library persuasive essay. The students had a strong case for all the benefits a little free library could offer to the MP3 campus,” Principal Siadal said. “They had a solid plan from start to finish. Mrs. Giesen has a gift of sparking enthusiasm in students to find joy in reading and writing.”

After hearing from the students and reading their persuasive essay she was convinced to say yes to the project.

MP3 family, the Jacksons, took on the task to build the new free library. Then shortly after that, schools closed due to the pandemic and the project was put on hold. Almost two years later, the library adorned with a gold, glittery door was delivered to the school.

Giesen said the free library has been very popular. The community has donated several hundred books, and puzzles and science kits too. Giesen has a supply of the donated items in her classroom to replenish the library as items are retrieved from it.

“It’s been magical to see the little free library come to life with students being able to access books,” Principal Siadal said.

Giesen shared that students took away more from this assignment than just the skills to craft a persuasive five-paragraph essay.

“They really put themselves into trying to get another person’s perspective,” Giesen said. “They shared in that generous spirit of trying to make their community a better place. That is maybe the most important lesson.”

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