Like food and shelter, literacy skills are a basic human need that many of the families in our area go without. The Literacy Volunteers Community Book Bank (CBB) program in Meriden works hard to provide new and gently used book donations to local schools and community programs serving children in need. The CBB is also a great resource for our adult literacy students, many of whom can now read to their children or grandchildren because they have improved their own literacy skills. It's like a food bank, but instead of cans, the shelves are lined with stories.
Meriden-Wallingford Program Director, Holly Ludemann, describes how the program got started back in 2010, thanks to the support of Literacy Volunteers and the United Way of Meriden/Wallingford: "The effort was coordinated by Literacy Volunteer Nancy Milano, who sorted the books and organized them for redistribution. The Meriden Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Beth Vumbaco, [was] kind enough to donate space in the Stoddard building for this purpose."
Pretty soon, the books outgrew their shelves. In 2011, the CBB moved to its current location at the Y Arts Center where it shares its space with the Literacy Volunteers office among other non-profits and businesses.
The CBB relies on businesses and members of the community to collect new and gently used children's books. The donations are then sorted by volunteers and given to community agencies, schools and other organizations for distribution to families and children.
"Volunteers are our most important resource, followed by children's books," says Holly.
Since its inception, volunteers have redistributed over 47,000 books.
According to Holly, when it comes to running the CBB, "The greatest obstacle is getting the word out to the general public."
The Community Book Bank has a library that is open during business hours. Area agencies and people connected with those agencies can browse the stacks at these times.
If you would like your agency to receive these free books or if you would like to help with this project, please email BookBank@lvagnh.org.