Literacy Organizations Donating Nearly 500,000 Books

Thursday, Mar 12, 2015

Literacy Organizations Donating Nearly 500,000 Books

Reprinted with permission from the Commercial Appeal
March 12, 2015
by Katie Fretland

Kevin Kimberly, middle school leader at Memphis Catholic Middle School, picked up 360 free books on Thursday. The stories included Megan Crewe’s ‘The Way We Fall,’ the first book in of a trilogy about a teenage girl whose home island is infected by a deadly virus.

Kimberly said the 360 books will have a great impact on the library, which mostly contains reference items. The books will also be added to a collection for an outside reading program.

“This will help us reignite our library and build it up,” he said.

The books were part of a massive literacy effort underway Thursday inside a warehouse stacked with brown boxes. Literacy Mid-South in partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based First Book is working to bring almost 500,000 free books to youth.

The giveaway targets children with the least access to books.

“This distribution will put brand-new books directly in their hands, giving them a greater opportunity to read and learn,” said Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South.

Freedom Preparatory Academy’s charter school campuses are also slated to receive books.

Paul Dunbar, community outreach manager at Freedom Preparatory Academy, said the gift will help “tremendously” in expanding the elementary, middle and high schools’ libraries.

Michele Yellin, senior youth services librarian at Memphis Public Library and head of the library’s Explore Memphis summer learning program, picked up 1,145 books on Thursday, including coloring books featuring Thomas and Friends and Dora the Explorer, as well as “Iron Man 3” sticker books.

“We are really happy that we were able to get this donation from them,” Yellin said. “It’s going to really help us reward our children. This was really a big help for us.”

The books are for children ages 4 to 6 years old.

“That’s a real core of our population, and I think they are going to love to take (the books) home with them,” Yellin said.