Released 27 October 2011
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Petersburg's First Ever Book Bank Opens at The Salvation Army Tri-Cities Service Center
In late October, the very first book bank in Petersburg was opened making more than 2,000 free books available for children ages birth through the fifth grade who live in the Tri-Cities region - and 150 of those books were immediately distributed to First Baptist Church of Petersburg.
"Our goal is to increase opportunities to build literacy-enriched homes throughout the Tri-Cities area," said Patricia A. Hines, Chair of the Southside Regional Children's Book Bank and Program Director for early childhood development for United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. "Children who are exposed to books at home as well as in school have more opportunities to learn to read at their grade level, which will help them do well in school and graduate on time."
The book bank, which is staffed and run by volunteers, is located at The Salvation Army Tri-Cities Service Center, 1228 South West Street in Petersburg.
The grand opening was the culmination of a year's worth of hard work and planning by the Petersburg City of Readers leadership committee and included a partnership between United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, The Salvation Army Tri-Cities Service Center, the Petersburg Public Library and Virginia State University. The Petersburg City of Readers includes agencies, organizations and faith-based community partners united in a quest to improve literacy within the City of Petersburg.
"The book bank furthers the efforts to make not only Petersburg a City of Readers, but to share our vision of putting books in children's hand across the Southside Region," said Wayne Crocker, Chair of the Petersburg City of Readers and Director of Library Services for Petersburg.
The book bank was officially opened by Star De Perez, who cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony. De Perez, a high school freshman who lives in Colonial Heights, gave the book bank its start by collecting and donating 2,000 books. Her love for books and reading was the catalyst that inspired her to share books with other children as her Girl Scout Silver Award project.
The keynote speaker at the opening was Del. Rosalyn Dance, who founded The Petersburg City of Readers while serving as Petersburg's mayor.
"What I believed then is what I believed today, which is that literacy is an essential building block in life," Dance said. "Reading can unlock the door to academic and personal achievement, and achieving one's goals determines that quality of life that one can live."
Southside Regional Children's Book Bank FAQ:
Who can receive books? Nonprofits, schools, childcare centers, faith-based organizations, and civic organizations will be able to request up to 150 books each via the Petersburg Public Library website, www.ppls.org.
The book bank will be open to accept donations and to distribute books on the second and fourth Fridays of each month, from 3-4 p.m.
Monetary donations to the book bank will be accepted through the Petersburg Public Library.
Please contact Patricia Hines (804) 926-0495 or Wayne Crocker (804) 733-2387 for more information on how you can volunteer, donate or advocate for literacy.