ALA Student Members at ECU Share Gift of Literacy
Clay White, Matthew White, and Dalton Suits (left to right), three seventh-grade students from rural Bennett Elementary School, volunteered to conduct a book drive that netted almost 200 books.
Between Thanksgiving and the last days of December 2011, students in East Carolina University’s Master of Library Science department, in Greenville, North Carolina, gathered 239 books and materials to donate to homeless shelters, after-school programs, hospitals, and libraries in communities throughout North Carolina.
This was students’ sixth year participating in the ECU-ALA Student Chapter Holiday Book Drive, in which library science students—inspired by the idea of giving the gift of literacy—collect gently used books from friends, co-workers, students and their families, and from their own collections at home, to share with children and adults in need.
Three seventh-grade students from rural Bennett Elementary School asked Kathy Gaines, the school’s librarian, and student in the ECU MLS program, if they could conduct the book drive that netted almost 200 books. Gaines and the three students, Clay White, Matthew White, and Dalton Suits, were so excited about the number and quality of books collected during the 10-day book drive.
“It was like Christmas everyday when we opened the collection boxes and saw so many beautiful books,” Gaines reflected. “I was so proud of the boys’ leadership and their dedicated effort to promote literacy and get books to children who need them.”
The boys’ efforts exemplify dispositions of perseverance, leadership, teamwork, and social responsibility as identified in American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action.
Books collected at Bennett Elementary School were donated to Chatham Hospital in Siler City, NC, and placed in waiting rooms and other areas of the hospital where children can enjoy the books. The students benefited from the book drive so much that they have already started collecting books for next year. This book drive project has been a heartwarming experience for students and staff at Bennett Elementary School, and provided an opportunity for them to spread cheer and literacy across the community.
Faculty members in ECU’s Department of Library Science also contributed to the project this year by donating new books to the drive instead of giving each other “secret Santa” presents. A total of 25 new books were given to the Little Willie Center, an after school tutoring center in Greenville, NC.
In addition, other ECU students collected and donated books. Kelley Loftis donated 15 books to the young adult collection of the Southern Pines Public Library. Mary Tobin donated 25 books to the library at South Topsail Elementary School.
— Dr. Jami Jones is the faculty advisor for the East Carolina University-ALA Student Chapter. The ECU library science program is nationally recognized by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and American Association of School Librarians. Founded on February 28, 2005, ECU’s program was the first NCATE/AASL recognized library science program to establish an ALA Student Chapter.