Give the gift of readingA book is a passport for the mind. “You can be anything and go anywhere by just reading the right book!” said Kathi Madsen, executive director of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County “You can solve criminal cases, visit the island of Maui, bake that special cake ... if you can read.”
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A book is a passport for the mind.
“You can be anything and go anywhere by just reading the right book!” said Kathi Madsen, executive director of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County “You can solve criminal cases, visit the island of Maui, bake that special cake ... if you can read.”
A new program aimed at encouraging young people to pick up a book is starting in Douglas County. The Little Blue Bookshelf project will collect new and gently used children’s books at more than a dozen locations.
“We thought Christmas was a good time as people are cleaning out their bookshelves and toy boxes,” said Jessica Poskozim, one of the members of the Leadership Superior/Douglas County committee which is launching the program.
Books will be collected through December. They will be sorted and distributed to children through Little Blue Bookshelves around the community. Children from birth through fourth grade can take a book home and keep it free of charge.
“The more books out there for them, the better,” said Nancy Senn, another member of the bookshelf committee.
The committee is working with the United Way to increase early literacy in children. They’ve been meeting weekly since October to get the donation bins out by the holidays.
“We’re all cranked,” said Senn. “It just took off so fast.”
Madsen said she was thrilled to hear about the project. Improving early childhood literacy is one of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County’s three main initiatives.
“Think about the things you couldn’t do if you didn’t know how to read,” said Madsen, a former English teacher. You couldn’t read a love note, write a letter to Santa, read a notice for jury duty, search for anything on the computer or do homework assignments.
The ability to read is crucial, Madsen said, and a love of reading can open doors.
“Imagine if children enjoyed reading, chances are they might do better in school and enjoy classes,” she said. “If they enjoyed classes, maybe they wouldn’t be truant and miss a lot of classes. If they didn’t miss classes, they’d probably learn what they needed to know to graduate. If they graduated, they would have more options available to them; more career paths to travel, more post-secondary opportunities.”
Currently, there are blue book collection bins at the following donation sites: Bryant Elementary School, all Enbridge locations, Culver’s, Trends Salon and Spa, Superior Choice Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Superior Water Light and Power, Cathedral of Christ the King Church, Cathedral School, Superior Telegram, Super One Foods on Oakes Avenue, Metro Credit Union and four sites on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus – the Yellowjacket Union, Swenson Hall, Old Main and the Jim Dan Hill Library.
New and gently used books for the Little Blue Bookshelf will also be collected during the free UWS Winterfest, which takes place from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at the Marcovich Health and Wellness Center.
The leadership group hopes to place bookshelves filled with books throughout the community by Martin Luther King Day.
Groups, organizations and individuals are being sought to “adopt” individual bookshelves and make sure there are always stocked. A number of bookshelves are also needed. They should be four feet high, Madsen said.
For more information and a map of current book donation sites, visit https://sites.google.com/site/littlebluebookshelf/, or contact Poskozim at 715-392-8511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.