We’re hosting a children’s book drive February 19, through March 3.
My goal is to raise at least 1,000 gently used, or like new children’s books of all genres. The books will be used to start a free library, with plans to have little free libraries at several locations throughout Pine Bluff.
For convenience, donation boxes will be at the following locations in Pine Bluff for easy drop-offs: Johnny Huggins, Jr. State Farm, 3801 Camden Rd. Suite 24 Fathers & Sons Clothier, Jefferson Square, The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Fine Arts lobby, Jack & Jill Fun Zone in the Pines Mall.
About three years ago I shared my vision to start a bookmobile with Stephen Bronskill, a co-founder of What’s Next Pine Bluff. I explained that growing up, a bookmobile made frequent visits to our neighborhood school for kids to check out books.
I’ve always liked the bookmobile concept, but instead I would like to give the books away. Bronskill thought it was a great idea, and suggested I look into starting a little free library.
The idea of a free library is “give a book to get a book. I understand that not all children have a book to give. So first things first, I plan to give away books at a pop-up event March 31 hosted by Mt. Harmony MB Church. There will be other events afterward where children can exchange their books for another.
Since Bronskill shared free libraries with me, I’ve researched, collected information and even dreamt about book drives and free libraries. 2018 is the year I will make it happen.
Eventually, little free libraries will be in locations around Pine Bluff where children won’t have to wait for a pop-up event to get a new book.
Research shared by Children’s Access to Print Material and Education-Related Outcomes, found that children with greater access to books and other print materials express more enjoyment of books, reading, and academics.
I want to share the joy of reading with children of Pine Bluff, while encouraging them to become lifelong readers.
The book drive is a family affair. We’ve also partnered with A-Plus Outreach Scholarship founded by my daughter Ajia and Ashley Gragg, as well as Mt. Harmony M. B. Church.