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BOOKS BEEF UP SCHOOL LIBRARIES <br> PROGRAM DONATES VOLUMES, CASH FOR SPECIAL EFFORTS

Julian Lozada, an eighth-grader at Buffalo's Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence, lights up when when time comes to go to the school library.

"Library is considered a 'special,' and specials are supposed to be best part of the day," Julian said Friday. "More variety of books helps kids get interested in reading."

Thanks to the "Libraries for Kids" program, Julian's Hampshire Street school had 5,000 more books Friday than it did just the day before.

The Pantoja school was one of 11 local schools chosen to receive books from the program, sponsored by Quebecor World Buffalo, The Buffalo News and Project FLIGHT.

In addition, three of those schools -- the Pantoja school, Buffalo's School 84 at Erie County Medical Center and Fricano Primary School in the Starpoint School District -- also received $5,000 grants for library materials.

"This is a passion for me," said Kevin Clarke, president of Quebecor's book and directory publishing services. "There are a lot of things we can't do, but getting new books into the hands of kids is something we're committed to."

Warren T. Colville, Buffalo News president, said 1.2 million books have been donated since the program was launched in 1995.

"The Buffalo News has two major priorities -- one is literacy, and the other is kids," he said.

The other schools that received books are the Cattaraugus-Allegany Board of Cooperative Educational Services Center in Ellicottville, Central Avenue Elementary School in Lancaster, the Charter School for Applied Technologies in Buffalo.

Also, Lackawanna Middle School, LaSalle Middle School in Niagara Falls, Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo, St. Paul's Catholic School in Kenmore, and Truman Elementary School in Lackawanna.

The grants are awarded to schools that display strong leadership and are pursuing literacy initiatives.

e-mail: psimon@buffnews.com

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