When Book’em hosts a book drive this week, the “drive” part is literal.
In addition to the collecting of children’s books that runs Sept. 21-26, Book’em has planned a car parade on Sept. 26, where supporters can drive through to donate children’s books to the childhood literacy organization.
Either way, if you have children’s books that your children or grandchildren have outgrown, this is a great way to give them new life in the name of literacy.
The festive drop-off book drive is a first-time event, and it will take place 9-11 a.m. in the Nashville Public Television parking lot at 161 Rains Ave. It also includes a car decorating contest.
Julie Greenberg with the Book’em’s Congregation Micah Book Drive. (Photo: Submitted Photo)
Book’em Executive Director Melissa Spradlin said after seeing drive-by birthday parties and graduation celebrations during the ongoing pandemic, her team came up with this drive-thru car parade idea as an alternative to its fall Book’em breakfast fundraiser.
“We could have done a virtual fundraiser like so many nonprofits, but we thought this would be a fun way to bring the community together,” she said. “This is something that anybody could be a part of.”
As an incentive to join the drive on Sept. 26, participants will receive a Loveless Cafe biscuit and a cup of Bongo Java coffee to enjoy during the car “parade,” which also includes a “Ms. Frizzle style” field trip focused on literacy.
Need for more books
“We know we need more books more than ever,” Spradlin said. “Access to books is an essential component for children to develop strong reading skills and a love of reading,” she said, noting that with the pandemic, children’s access to books has become more challenging than ever.
If you have books to donate to Book’em and can’t make it to the parade, another option is to drop them off through Sept. 26 at Half Price Books, the Green Hills YMCA, TITLE Boxing’s three studios, or the Ford ice rinks in Bellevue and Antioch.
The Big Book Drive and car parade are both part of Book’em’s effort to help with children’s reading development, especially during this school year, with all of its COVID-19 challenges.
Book’em wants books for those up to age 18, but the most needed ones are for elementary and middle school readers.
In addition to donating books, individuals and groups are invited to hold their own book drives to gather more new and gently used children’s books to give away. There is also a virtual book drive, where supporters can donate money.
Spradlin said that once COVID-19 hit, Book’em ramped up its distribution programs. During March, April and May, Book’em distributed more than 46,100 books compared with about 27,800 for the same period the previous year.
“We are continuing to provide more books to those in need in Davidson County so that young people have reading materials in their homes,” Spradlin said. She said the community donated more than 60,000 new and like-new books to Book’em last year.
The hope is to collect 5,000 or more books through this parade and book drive.
Book’em, whose mission is to “ignite children’s passion for reading through book ownership” and reading examples, works with schools and other local partners like Youth Encouragement Service and Habitat for Humanity. Together, they distribute more than 100,000 books annually.
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