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HOLLYWOOD : Theater Chain Helps Schools by Giving Money and Time

March 31, 1994|CAROL CHASTANG

Students at Santa Monica Boulevard Elementary and Grant Elementary in Hollywood are finding their school libraries a more interesting place.

That's because there are hundreds of new books, furniture and more space, thanks to a gift from Pacific Theatres.

Through the company's "Hooked on Reading" school partnership program begun last year, the theater chain has spent $10,000 to renovate the libraries at each of the schools, which are part of the cash-strapped Los Angeles Unified School District.

In addition, 45 Pacific Theatres employees have agreed to work part of their shifts at the schools to serve as readers, tutors and teachers' aides.

Dan Chenow, vice president of Pacific Theatres, said the company hopes to modernize two school libraries in Los Angeles County each year. He said about $1,355 in donations were collected from moviegoers who dropped money in boxes located in Hollywood's El Capitan, Cinerama Dome and Hollywood Pacific theaters.

The money was especially welcome at Santa Monica Boulevard Elementary, which used the donation to pay for the demolition of a partition in the library, almost doubling its size.

"The old library was kind of dark, and the shelves were too high, and there wasn't enough room for the students to sit and read," said Catherine Johnson, a library coordinator at the school.

"So often, we have to make do and rely on hand-me-downs," Johnson said. "Now we have more tools to enrich their lives. This is how it should be."

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