Monthly Archives: April 2012

Deb Matthews supports The Children’s Book Bank

The Book Bank had a special visitor at the beginning of April – someone who has been a longtime supporter of our organization through book drives in London, Ontario.

For the past three years, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Deb Matthews, has hosted a children’s book donation drop-off at her MPP office.   This visit was the first opportunity for Kim Beatty, Founder and Executive Director of the Book Bank, to meet Deb Matthews and thank her in person.

Matthews’ efforts to collect children’s books were motivated by trips she made to First Nations communities in Northern Ontario with former Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman.  She recognized the need for books in her own backyard in London, Ontario and throughout southern Ontario.

“Literacy really is the key to success. If you can’t read and write, your options are severely limited,” said Matthews. “Books are a great passion of mine because reading opens a world of ideas and adventures, and I know the people of London will once again be generous and eager to share.”

We’d like to thank Deb Matthews for finding ways to transport the thousands of gently-used books she collected from London to our storefront at 350 Berkeley.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Our ability to open the door at 350 Berkeley Street each day to families in our community depends on the support of a fantastic group of individuals:  our volunteers.  We want to recognize the caring, creative and outstanding work of our volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

At the Book Bank, volunteers are involved in almost all components of the storefront operation.  Here’s a quick look at some of our volunteers’ responsibilities:

  • Greeting customers as they come into the storefront;
  • Helping new families get familiarized with the store layout;
  • Answering questions and requests from children and adults – suggesting a good book, finding a specific title, recommending materials that match a child’s reading level;
  • Unloading boxes and boxes of book donations from donors’ cars;
  • Sorting, filtering and organizing book donations;
  • Maintaining the aesthetics of the store:  creating book displays, tidying the shelves, freshening up the collection with new titles;
  • Reading stories to local classes who visit the Book Bank with their teachers.

Our organization depends on a volunteer force of 35 individuals who work a weekly or bi-weekly shift.  The majority of our volunteers have a background in libraries or education and possess a passion for literacy development and reading.   Their passion for helping connect children with books is unceasing and inspiring.  We cannot offer them enough thanks.

We would not be what we are today without this team of formidable characters.  Thanks so much to our current volunteers Adrienne, Amanda, Belinda, Betty, Brenda, Carol, Carolyn, Chris, Danielle, Davia, Inga, Jane M., Janis, Jen, Jenny, Joyce, Karen, Karin G., Karin V., Katherine, Kim A., Linda, Lindsay, Lydia, Madison, Maria, Nancy, Patty, Sarah, Sharon, Tamar, Tamara, Teresa, Val and Virginia – and to anyone who has ever volunteered with our organization.

Partnering with Young Moms to Encourage Family Literacy

The Children’s Book Bank entered into a partnership with another Toronto charity, Literature for Life, in the fall of 2011, to run a early literacy session for young moms (18 years and younger) and their babies.  The partnership was a natural fit:  Literature for Life focuses on the reading skills of the mothers, while the Book Bank concentrates on their babies.

Each month, the Moms bring their babies to The Children’s Book Bank.  With the help of volunteers from the Book Bank, Literature for Life representatives and Dave Page, an Early Literacy Specialist with the Macaulay Child Development Centre, the babies and Moms participate in a circle time: there are songs and stories that demonstrate effective reading strategies to use at home.  The goal of the program is to start healthy reading habits early in life.  The Moms select books from the Book Bank for their babies during each visit and are encouraged to visit outside of the program, as well.

Global News’s Susan Hay returned to the Book Bank to film a feature for her show, Making a Difference, on the program.  Click here to watch it now and learn more about the partnership.