The University of Arkansas Volunteer Access Center has partnered with the Arkansas athletics department in an effort to collect 25,000 books for children from low-income families across the state.
The goal of the program, called Razorbacks Read, is to build home libraries of 10-15 books for 2,300 students in grades kindergarten through third grade at the following schools across the state: Dermott Elementary in Dermott; William Jefferson Clinton Primary in Hope; Carroll Smith Elementary in Osceola; Chicot Elementary in North Little Rock; Parson Hills Elementary and Westwood Elementary schools in Springdale. Books will also be donated to the Fayetteville Head Start program.
“Illiteracy is a problem in Arkansas – 14 percent of the people in the state can’t read or write,” said Madeleine Chaisson, president of the VAC board. “One proven way to combat illiteracy is to provide children with books at an early age. When we learned that in low-income neighborhoods in Arkansas there is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children we realized this was a place we could help.”
Students can donate used children’s books during the Scholastic Book Fair from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, through Friday, Oct. 23, in the Connections Lounge of the Arkansas Union. Students can also bring books to the following locations: ID Office, Career Development Center or Center for Community Engagement in the Arkansas Union; the Honor’s College; Ozark Hall; the Agriculture Building; Mullins Library; HPER Room 225; or the U of A Bookstore.
Local residents are encouraged to donate new or gently used children’s books to one of the following drop-off stations from Oct. 19-23: Fayetteville Public Library; Walker Brothers, Fayetteville; Arvest Bank, any of seven branches; Haas Hall Academy; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville; J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. corporate office.
The drive concludes at Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24, for the Arkansas vs. Auburn football game. Fans can contribute books to volunteers in tailgating areas and at entrances to the stadium until the end of the first quarter of the game.
When the drive is complete, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. will provide the storage area and the trucks to take the books to the designated schools.