International book distributor grants DOE $2 million for public school books

by Marissa Eusebio, KUAM News
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The lack of resources within Guam's public school libraries is a problem with which the community has now involved itself. International book distributor Gum Drop Books recently offered the Department of Education a $2 million line of credit for the purchase of reference books.

According to Gum Drop associate Danny Pangelinan, based on an inventory of books requested by DOE librarians, a number of lists included encyclopedias. Now that the distributor has $45,000 worth of encyclopedias available, it has taken the extra step of getting the community involved to raise money so the libraries can purchase them for their students. "The business community is coming out now, asking us if they can be of some help so there's a lot interest from both the private citizenry on Guam as well as the business community," said Pangelinan.

After beginning a book drive, Pangelinan says $1,000 dollars was raised in four days. Members of the Guam Education Policy Board have even acknowledged Gum Drop Books for its efforts. "Monday I went to the Guam Education Policy Board work session and I did a presentation on the input they wanted about the libraries on Guam. It was pretty well received," added Pangelinan.

"Mrs. Rosa Palomo commended us on the efforts of the book drive and her exact words were we're thinking outside the box in terms of situations that are going on with DOE."

In the meantime, DOE officials say that there is no funding source available for the purchase of library books, according to Senator Bob Klitzkie, there is. In October of 2003, Senator Klitzkie along with Speaker Ben Pangelinan initiated the passport reform law, which directed monies from the U.S. Passport Office to DOE libraries.

Explained the first-term policymaker, "Half the fees collected from the issuance of passports go to the Public School Library Resource Fund. That money is available to buy resources for public school libraries. I'd estimate over a half-million dollars a year goes in the Public School Library Resource Fund."

DOE spokesperson Gerry Cruz could not specify how much money has been collected and made available to the island's public schools through the Fund. He further stated that because of procurement laws, the Department is unable solely purchase its library books from Gum Drop Books, despite the available line of credit.




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