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SALT LAKE CITY — Kids at Meadowlark Elementary got a Christmas surprise a few hours before the start of holiday break.
The doors crashed open to reveal their library makeover.
"Woohoo, let's go in!" shouted excited students.
They marveled at the new books, paint and furniture. It was such a contrast to their old library.
"It was a pretty barren place," said principal Heidi Greene. "Our walls were maybe three pastel colors. The books were tattered and worn."
KSL's Read Today and High Five teams partnered with the Deseret News to provide a much needed update.
Employees from America First Credit Union helped paint bright colors on the walls.
Element Capital helped donate new tables and comfortable furniture. Read Today donated money for books.
The makeover made their library much more inviting.
"This is amazing," said Greene. "I think we're going to have a lot of readers."
Students, many who didn't like coming to the old library, agreed.
"I'm going to go over there in the corner and read the whole time," volunteered one student.
As students were admiring the shelves of new books, the surprise turned on those who'd planned the event.
Element Capital employee Leslie Woodmansee announced they had an additional donation.
"Books are expensive. Read Today donated $10,000 on books, we'd like to match that."
That brought cheers and tears to the eyes of librarians, who know what those books mean to many of their students who don't have them at home.
"Most of our students don't, and many have parents who don't read, so there's no one at home to read," said librarian Michele Edgley. "So whatever they get, they get here."
Thanks to generosity and hard work, these students will have a much better experience reading. And teachers know it's a priceless gift.
"This is the best Christmas present an elementary school could have," said Greene.
To see the before and after makeover, watch the story.