Guest Post: Support Literacy With Book Donations

Throughout August 2015, Random Acts is encouraging our supporters to get out and #GetKind in support of literature, libraries, and literacy.

This guest post is from Alyssa Starr Newerth, Director of Advancement at Indy Reads, an organization that works to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana.

Luci and Betty Print-1Indy Reads Books is an independent, nonprofit bookstore that sells used and new books for adults and children in downtown Indianapolis. One of the only independent bookstores in Indianapolis, this bookstore is a source of revenue for the nonprofit organization, Indy Reads.

Indy Reads is a literacy organization whose mission is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana. For the past 30 years, Indy Reads has been helping students gain the skills they need to read and write, and in 2014 Indy Reads helped 1,322 adults learn to read. All profits from the bookstore go directly back into funding for workshops and programs to further the mission of making Central Indiana 100% literate. At Indy Reads Books, we believe that literacy opens up new horizons. It opens doors to new experiences, job opportunities, as well as special moments reading to children and family. We believe that literacy is a skill that all people need and should have, and is something not everyone has had equal access to.

The Importance of Literacy

The National Center for Family Literacy reports that children’s literacy levels are strongly linked to the literacy levels of their parents. There is so much we can do to make a difference! Indy Reads Books makes like-new books available to the general public, and is also a place for people to congregate, study, or renew their love of reading. Indy Reads Books relies entirely on book donations from the community.

stage, croppedBy donating books, we can re-sell them for full profit which can be invested back into our literacy programs. The more you read books from Indy Reads Books, the more you help Indy Reads. Our slogan is “Read More. Do Good.” We have over 100 volunteers at Indy Reads Books who keep us going. They help our customers find books, sort book donations, and help us host events. The bookstore has hosted more than 200 events this year including art shows, storytelling, local author readings, writing labs, musical performances, and more. Every year, Indy Reads Books hosts Scavenge the Ave- a literacy scavenger hunt in our downtown neighborhood. This event raises awareness and money to support adult literacy, while also supporting the cultural and art community. Our annual fundraiser Alphabet Affair raises funds to help make Indianapolis 100% literate by celebrating a different letter of the alphabet every year.

Help Support Literacy In Indiana

This past year, Indy Reads Books published Indy Writes Books, an anthology of local Indiana authors who have helped Indy Reads’ independent bookstore to grow and thrive. The book features fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and puzzles centered around bookstores and the love of reading, including 3 exclusive features from best-selling author, John Green. All of the proceeds from Indy Writes Books support Indy Reads’ adult literacy programs in Central Indiana. You can purchase a copy of Indy Writes Books online, and help support adult literacy! Indy Reads always has needs volunteers to tutor our adult students. By helping students learn how to read and write, you are giving a student the opportunity to learn and grow through literacy. We have many opportunities for tutors, including reading labs, one on one tutoring, jail programs, and our family literacy program. There is a spot for everyone! Buying books, donating books and money, and volunteering are all wonderful ways that our community gives back and supports our work. Our supporters know that by donating, volunteering, and buying from our bookstore they are supporting a wonderful cause that will help their community grow and strengthen.

So, what can you do to get involved in your community?

fictionshelf-1Donating books you no longer read is a great start. Sign up for community newsletters to see how you can volunteer. Above all, continue reading! The best thing you can do to encourage people to WANT to learn to read is by showing how many doors reading can open.