Edmonds Bookshop surprise beneficiary of Battle of Books bucks

Edmonds-Woodway Librarian Karen Rautenberg and Principal Terrance Mims present Edmonds Bookshop owner MaryKay Sneeringer with a ceremonial for $5000 to cover the cost of books for this year's "Battle of the Books" competition. The money is from a Patterson grant secured by Rautenberg.
Edmonds-Woodway High School Librarian Karen Rautenberg, left, and Principal Terrance Mims present Edmonds Bookshop owner MaryKay Sneeringer with a ceremonial check for $5,000 to cover the cost of books for this year’s “Battle of the Books” competition. The money is from a Patterson grant secured by Rautenberg.

It was a day of surprises and smiles when a contingent of educators from the Edmonds School District descended on the Edmonds Bookshop late Thursday afternoon to begin a $5,000 shopping spree. And no one was more surprised than bookshop owner MaryKay Sneeringer, who was handed a ceremonial check to cover the cost of books to be used in the District’s annual “Battle of the Books” competition.

District educators pictured with Sneeringer, from left: Diane Borchert (Meadowdale HS librarian), Rautenberg (Edmonds-Woodway librarian), Sneeringer, Kasey Meier (Mountlake Terrace HS librarian) and Steve Goodain (Edmonds Heights K-12 librarian).
District educators gathered at the bookshop, from left: Diane Borchert (Meadowdale HS librarian), Sneeringer,  Kasey Meier (Mountlake Terrace HS librarian), Karen Rautenberg (Edmonds-Woodway librarian), Steve Goodain (Edmonds Heights K-12 librarian), and Joan Maybank (Lynnwood HS librarian)

“The Battle of the Books began as a way to promote reading and literacy through a competitive event between rival schools in the District,” said Karen Rautenberg, Edmonds-Woodway librarian. “Librarians select new, award-winning, quality, teen fiction and nonfiction, and challenge our students to read the books. Students then create teams to face off in a Jeopardy-style competition based on the books they have read.”

Students loved the program. But as more clamored to get in, the Battle of the Books threatened to outstrip the district’s ability to support it.

The Edmonds School District Battle of the Books trophy is presented each year to the winning team.
The Edmonds School District Battle of the Books trophy is presented each year to the winning team.

“Our problem is that student interest is growing and with our limited budget we aren’t able to purchase multiple copies of this literature while at the same time supporting a thriving library collection,” said Rautenberg.

So she hit on the idea of applying for a grant, and put together a proposal for a Patterson grant to help fund the Battle of the Books.

Patterson grants are funded by bestselling author James Patterson, who through the Scholastic Reading Club donates money to support youth reading and literacy. This year alone, he has personally donated $1.75 million to school libraries nationwide, parceled out in grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to each of 467 schools.

And when her grant came through, Rautenberg knew exactly what to do with it.

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Edmonds School District educators enter the Edmonds Bookshop to purchase supplies for the Battle of the Books.

“MaryKay Sneeringer has always been a strong supporter of school libraries and literacy,” she said. “She’s served as a questioner during Battle of the Books competitions, and donated books as prizes to all participants. Spending the money in her store was a no-brainer. It not only shows our great appreciation for her and everything she’s done, but also supports our own local brick-and-mortar bookshop and our community.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

21 Replies to “Edmonds Bookshop surprise beneficiary of Battle of Books bucks”

  1. Ditto to all of the above! Mary Kay, YOU ROCK! and I’m very proud to be a former ESD educator a this moment.

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  2. Well-deserved accolades for Mary Kay and the Edmonds Bookstore highlighting just one of the many way she gives back to this community!

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  3. I’m so proud of the Edmonds School District high school librarians, and especially Karen, for putting this all together! I’m glad that Mary Kay and Edmonds Bookshop can share the benefits of this meaningful educational experience for kids! Kudos all around! This is a true community project!

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  4. Kudos to Karen Rautenberg! She and her fellow librarians have built the Battle of the Books so that each year more students get excited about reading meaningful literature. Her dedication and enthusiasm convinced James Patterson to award Edmonds School District a generous grant. Edmonds Bookshop is honored to be the chosen provider of books for next year’s Battle. We are grateful all around!

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