Literacy Volunteers Third Annual Book Drive

The Book Lady is coming back this summer! Once again, the Book Lady van will arrive in eight different neighborhoods with books that appeal children of all ages—from infants to teens. Books will be organized by age and topics into boxes so that all can have the fun of picking out the book they want, be it from the favorite series of “I Can Read” books, Captain Underpants, Dairy of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, or picture books, board books, dinosaur books and how-to books…..and more!!! Meanwhile, for children who want, volunteers will be delighted to read aloud to one or several children together!

For immediate release

June 18, 2021


Denise Pendleton

Coordinator, Literacy Volunteers

(207) 338-3197

Food for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Literacy Volunteers Third Annual Book Drive

For many in the education world, the summer is a quiet time for planning and reflection. But for Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County (LVWC), this summer will be its busiest time. Recognizing that too many families lack easy access to the delight and comfort of books as well as essential meals, Literacy Volunteers will deliver books in partnership with initiatives providing food to families with school-age children in need. To create an ample supply of reading possibilities, LVWC is conducting a book drive, requesting donations of gently used books for children of all ages. LVWC is also leading a team of community partners who will offer additional educational enrichment activities.

Books will be given away to approximately 200 children of families being served by two programs: WaldoCAP (Waldo Community Action Partners) and FOOD (Feeding Opportunities & Outreach Directive). FOOD is a multi-agency collaborative effort with Belfast Soup Kitchen serving as lead partner and sponsor of the Federal Child Nutrition Summer Food Service Program. Through these partnerships, food and books will be delivered for a total of eleven weeks, from mid-June to the end of August to a total of ten neighborhoods and outlying Waldo

Last summer, in a similar partnership outreach to neighborhoods, clamors for “the Book Lady” became the norm, beginning as soon as food was delivered. As the red van driven by the Literacy Volunteers pulled up, children, mothers, fathers, and grandparents gathered to browse and select from the boxes of books organized by age and topic.

Educational enrichment team members include Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition (with award-winning Natural Literacy educator in the schools Jenni Judkins), Frida the Fabulous ArtVan, the Restorative Justice Project, Literacy Volunteers, SNAP, 4-H and Music to Grow On. The team will provide activities and offer take-home resources that include not only books, but art supplies, recipe cards, and seedlings. The goal of the education team is to inform and inspire families to take time this summer to have fun learning, to practice healthy nutrition, to experience the joys of reading aloud, and to get outside to enjoy the natural world.

This will be the third annual Literacy Volunteers Book Drive. In 2019, LVWC led a book drive for children of asylum seekers in Portland, which resulted in over 200 books being distributed. Last summer, in 2020, LVWC’s book drive drew donations of hundreds of books that gave children of all ages many hours of reading pleasure and discovery.

Why does this book drive matter? According to Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, “summer setback” often has its greatest impact on children from families who lack easy access to books. During the summer, their reading achievement typically declines by an average of three months (McGill-Franzen & Arlington, 2003). “The absence of regular classroom attendance due to the pandemic, added to this summer setback, makes this an especially important time to get books and reading aloud into the lives of families,” said Denise Pendleton, coordinator of Literacy Volunteers. “The habit of reading aloud together is one of the single most important predictors of later reading success. It also builds relationships by giving opportunities for new conversations about so much—from feelings to facts and ideas.”

Literacy Volunteers hopes other community members will want to join this effort to provide the pleasure and power of children’s books, which can give joy and hope to these families following the past fourteen months of uncertainty and disruption of routines caused by the pandemic.

Literacy Volunteers is grateful for a partnership with Waldo County Technical Center, which is providing a collection site for donated books. Those who wish to purchase new books online to donate can have them sent directly to the Waldo County Technical Center, 1022 Waldo Road in Waldo, ME 04915, with “Attention: LVWC Book Drive.” Book donations may also be dropped off at the front office there 8:30am–2:30pm, Monday–Thursday, July 6 – 26.

For more information about how to contribute to the book drive, either by donating or purchasing books from a list of recommended titles or by providing a monetary contribution, please contact Denise Pendleton, Coordinator of Literacy Volunteers at 338-3197 or