Bookmarks' new initiative, Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections, to receive a matching grant of $50,000 from the Mebane Foundation - with your help! Help us infuse the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School libraries with new books!
The Mebane Charitable Foundation has approved a grant of $200,000 to Bookmarks to support “Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections, ”a three-year, $450,000 initiative focused on infusing the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School libraries with current, culturally-relevant books.
But there is a catch . . . while $50,000 will be released immediately, $50,000 of the remaining $150,000 pledge is in the form of a challenge grant requiring Bookmarks to raise an additional $50,000 by December 31, 2018, in order to receive those funds.
“Bookmarks has proven to be a great partner for the Mebane Foundation, and the size of this grant reflects my board’s confidence in them,” said Larry Colbourne, president of the Mebane Charitable Foundation. “I know the $50,000 challenge component will stretch Bookmarks, but I think the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community will rally around this great project to ensure this $50,000 dollar-for-dollar match is not left on the table in 2018.”
Through Book Build, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School libraries will be infused with 25,000 new books (310+ books specifically chosen by and curated for each school). Among the most-needed reading materials are culturally relevant titles, books published in the last three to five years, and multiple copies of popular books. In addition, the Bookmarks in Schools program will arrange author visits, volunteer help, and funding for media assistant support to help process the new books during the semester in which they are received.
“This grant is a game changer for this initiative, and I am grateful that the Mebane Foundation believes in our efforts so strongly,” said Ginger Hendricks, Bookmarks Executive Director. “We have an amazing community that we believe will help us raise not only the matching funds but all the funds we need so our students will thrive. Easy access to new books and books that reflect the readers’ interests can provide the impetus that leads a reluctant reader to become a lifelong reader.”
“Ultimately our goals for this initiative are to raise the average publishing year of the books in each school library, to provide relevant and diverse books, and to offer young readers a realistic and authentic mirror of their own lives and experiences through books that are readily available for them to check out and read. For many students, their only access to books is through their school library, so this will make an impact on the students directly,” said Ashley Bryan, Bookmarks Youth and Schools Coordinator. ”If children recognize themselves in their reading, they will connect with the story and develop positive self-images as they grow into adults. Diverse books also offer global awareness and teach all students to celebrate, support, and ultimately understand other cultures and perspectives.”
The first sets of books will be delivered this fall to elementary, middle, and high schools with a focus on schools designated as priority schools. Delivery of books to schools will continue through 2020 as Bookmarks continues to advocate and fundraise toward its goal until all Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools are reached. The books will expand the schools’ collection with new library books for check out and will be chosen according to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system’s selection guidelines with guidance from the media coordinators and teachers.
“Academic success—if defined by high school graduation rates—can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing a student’s reading skill at the end of the third grade,” Hendricks added. “Those not modestly skilled by that time are unlikely to graduate from high school. With that in mind, our hope is to build on the amazing work of Project Impact and other efforts that are already going on in our schools to improve reading levels for young readers. We want to help students continue to read—and enjoy reading—throughout their time in school and into their adult lives.”
Drawing on published data about the importance of current books in school libraries and Bookmarks’ mission of connecting readers with books, a goal of raising $450,000 by the fall of 2020 has been established. The first sets of books will be delivered this fall to elementary, middle, and high schools with a focus on schools designated as priority schools. Delivery of books to schools will continue through 2020 as Bookmarks advocates and fundraises towards the goal until all Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools are reached. The books will expand the schools’ collection with new library books for check out and will be chosen according to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system’s selection guidelines with guidance from the media coordinators and teachers.
Donations for one year and multi-year pledges to “Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections” may be made to Bookmarks online by clicking here or by mail: 634 W. Fourth Street #110, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Please put "Book Build" on your memo line.
.In the Media:
Fundraising Initiative Looks to Put Hundreds More Books in Each WS/FCS Media Center (Winston-Salem Journal 06/05/2018)
For any questions or additional information, contact Ginger Hendricks, Executive Director.