Cleveland Kids' Book Bank

As children, many of us have fond memories of parents, grandparents, and older siblings reading our favorite books to us. Although these memories may seem insubstantial, to children who don’t have these experiences, they’re crucial. Reading shapes pathways in children’s lifestyles that impact their success in the future. Having stories to read also provides a creative outlook on the world, making their present brighter in addition to their future. 

Thousands of children don’t have access to books in their home, and according to Scholastic.com, “Findings published in the journal Social Science Research show that raising a child in a home filled with books positively impacts her future academic growth and job attainment” (Rodriguez). This being said, children without books in their home are already at a disadvantage compared to those that do have access to books. To be successful in this world, reading and writing are common skills that every employer expects employees to have. Without these basic skills, one is likely to have trouble finding and keeping an occupation to support their family. 

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank of the Greater Cleveland area was founded when two brilliant minds, Judy Payne and Judi Kovach, realized this issue. Payne and Kovach were part of the Little Free Library Cleveland movement to encourage citizens to “take a book, leave a book.” Passersby could take a book home with them from the little library if they needed one; it was as simple as that. Upon gaining recognition, this movement was so successful that the  book bank founders needed to do something more. What they did was create the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank. 

The Book Bank’s website tells the story of the nonprofit organization to inspire others to make a change in the world, whether that be founding their own nonprofit, or donating a few books to this one. The “Our Story” portion of the website states, “Our work is made possible by the more than 6,000 volunteers who have sorted, packed, and boxed books at our Mid-Town Cleveland warehouse." The volunteer-based organization uses the help of programs including the City of Lakewood’s H2O “Help to Others” program to package and sort their books. They also “...were able to divert hundreds of thousands of high-quality children’s books annually from the recycling heap and get them into the hands of Cleveland children in need.” Benefiting the environment and children, this program is a gift to our city. The success of the Book Bank is described by the sentence, “Since our first partner pick-up in March 2016, we have distributed more than 2 million high-quality children’s books total to 100,000+ children and families in need in Greater Cleveland annually.” Every single child affected by the program is bound to have a brighter, more fulfilling future. H2O is very proud to be able to help this wonderful organization, and all citizens of the Cleveland community can be, too. 

Just outside of Lakewood High School on 14100 Franklin Blvd., there is a large metal box with the Book Bank’s logo on it. Located on the Franklin side of the building, this box is always open for anyone to drive by and drop off a few books. The bin was installed in partnership with the Lakewood City Schools. The Book Bank accepts any book that would appeal to children age birth through eighteen and doesn’t contain topics on holidays or religion. Every citizen is able to make a difference in this world, and the Kids’ Book Bank of the Greater Cleveland area makes this task easy and possible.  

Sources:

“Science Says: A Book-Filled Home Has Benefits Beyond Reading for Kids.” Scholastic, www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/study-finds-benefits-of-childs-home-library.html. 

“How The Kids' Book Bank Came To Be.” Kids' Book Bank Cleveland, www.kidsbookbank.org/our-story/. 

Grace Lamparyk is a sophomore at Lakewood High School and a leader in H2O's Executive Committee.

Emmie Hutchison

Grace Lamparyk is a sophomore at Lakewood High School and a leader in H2O's Executive Committee.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:37 PM, 03.03.2021