Charitable Birthday: Giving Books

posted by Talk About Giving blog team

July 16, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

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We heard from a Talk About Giving follower today who is interested in hosting a charitable birthday party for her child and collecting new or gently used books in lieu of gifts. So we checked with our resident librarian (yes, we actually have one right here in our office leading the Literacy 2030 initiative!) as to what organizations in the Midlands collect books for children. And when considering this, it’s difficult not to pause and reflect on the issue of illiteracy right here in our backyard.

Literacy and Children in the Midlands

You might be surprised to learn that 20 percent of adults living in the Midlands are illiterate. Additionally, 18 percent of adults and an alarming 28 percent of children in our region live in poverty – and literacy and poverty often go hand-in-hand. We know that the availability of books is strongly correlated with reading achievement, but unfortunately children living in poverty are least likely to have access to interesting, age-appropriate reading materials. The implications are significant for the future of our youth, families and our state. Did you know that:

  • 25% of our region’s children are assessed as not ready for first grade.
  • 28.1% of students in the Midlands test below grade level in third grade.
  • 40.2% of students in the Midlands test below grade level in eighth grade.

Illiteracy doesn’t just mean that you can’t enjoy a good book. It means that you can’t read the instructions on your prescription bottles. For high school drop outs, South Carolina’s 8.9 percent unemployment rate is actually doubled. Half of all welfare recipients can’t read beyond a fifth grade reading level. And less educated people are more likely to serve jail time, suffer from higher stress levels and die prematurely from heart disease, cancer,  diabetes, infection, injury and lung disease.

Livi’s Library: Making Books Available

When Bryan and Lisa Pettit of Lancaster lost their nine-year-old daughter to viral myocarditis in 2009, they decided to honor her through her great passion: learning through books. Livi’s Library is a book project designed to share gently used books with children who otherwise could not afford books of their own. Through this project, volunteers are collecting children’s books and distributing them through book fairs in high-needs, high-poverty schools in addition to making books available in place where high-needs families visit often.

If you’d like more information regarding Livi’s Library or would like to donate books and make a difference in the life and future of a child, please contact Ellen Hinrichs, or 803.254.5601.

Other Midlands Organizations Accepting Children’s Books

  • Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital State-of-the-art freestanding new hospital offering more than 30 medical subspecialties strictly for children caring for nearly 80,000 each year.
  • The Family Shelter provides emergency food, shelter, resources, and hope to homeless families with children in the Midlands area.
  • St. Lawrence Place (scroll down their page to in-kind donations) is a community of 28 homes, providing programming and transitional housing in addition to structure, training and support homeless families need to regain independence.

Know of other organizations that accept new or gently used children’s books? Let us know!


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