Fifty Ways #18 — You Can Take That to the Bank

The Book Bank, that is.  There are now three Literacy Connexus Book Banks.  One in Montgomery County (First Baptist Church Conroe), one in Parker County (Center of Hope – combining resources of 58 churches and others), and one in Tarrant County (Western Hills Baptist Church).  There are 254 counties in Texas.  Be the church in your county to begin a Book Bank (251 openings by my count).

Connie

Think of a food bank.  Resources come in.  They are processed.  They are shared.  Everyone wins.  A book banks works in a similar way.  People donate books to the book bank.  Volunteers sort them.  Then the books are shared with those who lack books.  The three book banks mentioned above primarily receive gently used children’s books, screen and sort them, and send them out the door with churches that share them through family reading fairs or other activities.  By the thousands, these books have been shared in each noted county as well as in border communities in the Books for the Border and Beyond project.

However, not all the books are for children.  In the fall BNSF Railroad in Fort Worth, share the results of a book drive with Literacy Connexus and the Tarrant Literacy Coalition.  Recently volunteers sorted those books for three units of the Presbyterian Night Shelter (in Fort Worth):  the main facility, the section for veterans and the space for women and children.  Leslie Reisdorfer—member of Western Hills Baptist Church and employee of Meridian Bank—brought the books to the homeless shelters and shared a note from Harriet at Presbyterian Night Shelter.  She noted that walking through the main shelter people were already making use of the books and several residents expressed appreciation for new books to read.

Steps in beginning a book bank at your church.

1.  Meet with your church leadership:  staff, missions committee, librarian, etc.  Explain the concept.

2.  Find a room in your church facility that could serve as a book bank.  Shelves will be needed as well as a sorting area (at least one table).  Proximity to an exit on the first floor or near an elevator will be helpful.  Enlist volunteers to help prepare the room.

3.  Advertise the need for gently used children’s books (by far the most desired items).  See the Literacy Connexus website for a flyer to use http://www.literacyconnexus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Book-Donation-Guidelines.pdf.  You don’t want cast off books.  We’ve made quite a few trips to the recycle bin or Goodwill.  Use of this flyer will reduce that problem.

4.  Enlist a volunteer team to sort books.  Again, the Literacy Connexus website has guidelines for screening and sorting books.  See http://www.literacyconnexus.org/b4tb-resources/core-books/

Ashleigh and Kelsey

5.  A donor in your church may want to give you money to buy new books.  The Literacy Connexus website has suggestions for core books (See above).  Jo Lee of San Antonio persuaded the manager of a Half Price Books store in her city to donate several boxes of books. Promote the project, the books will come…

6.  Next the fun starts.  Share what you have received with others.  You may want to draft guidelines for this as in one book per child in the proposed project or giveaway. 

For additional help with setting up your book bank, please contact us at info@literacyconnexus.org (817 696-9898).  In addition, please share your progress with us.  We want to partner with you to provide books.

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Thank you!

Saying thank you is important for anyone who receives a gift—especially a not-for-profit organization.  More than just being polite, there are tax implications. So, thank you to all who support Literacy Connexus through your donations and other support.

Some gifts are monetary; others in-kind (a fancy word for things used in doing one’s work).  In the last week many books have been donated for Books for the Border and Beyond.  This is one of the most important in-kind gifts we receive.  The books go to one of three book banks affiliated with Literacy Connexus.  Donated books are sorted by volunteers and shared with families lacking books at home.

At the world-wide headquarters for Literacy Connexus (4802 Hwy. 377 S, Fort Worth) I am sitting at a desk donated by a company going out of business.  Someone donated the chair I’m sitting on.

Bookcase Stack

Can you spot the donations?

I am using software made available by Tech Soup at a greatly reduced price through Microsoft.  The lateral file cabinet to my right and the bookcase behind me were donated by United Way when they moved to new offices.  The list is long for those kinds of gifts.  Thank you!

But Literacy Connexus really lives in volunteers serving through churches in the cities and towns across Texas.  A couple of years ago we learned that each week in Texas more than 10,000 adults from 88 countries learn English through the efforts of 1,500 plus volunteers.  This past weekend volunteers trained new teachers in three cities.  These 75 new teachers have returned to their churches with clear ideas about how to prepare lessons and make learning fun.  Thank you Robin Feistel, Martha McDade, Connie Anthony, Karen Peiser, Ella Moore, Carol Coburn, Dora Parnell, Blenda Wilson, Elsa Romero, and Beth Avery for your dedication to teaching English with excellence.  Thank you teachers everywhere for you service to persons seeking to learn English.

This blog will be launched on the Literacy Connexus website as a part of the ongoing work of Pam Moore.  Thank you for three years of dedicated service.

Thank you, Literacy Connexus board members:  Caroline Bell, Lynda Bertram, Kathy Cervantes, Lyle Crossley,  Larry Floyd, and Shewanda Riley.  From cleaning up trash along the highway to reviewing tax returns and donating to the cause, your service is much appreciated.

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And thanks to all who pray for the work of Literacy Connexus.  It matters.

Lester