Weber State holds drive to increase community access to books
OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University and the United Way of Northern Utah are partnering for a book drive to improve literacy and access to books in the Ogden community.
Through Dec. 8, books can be donated for the Little Neighborhood Libraries around the city. The small wooden boxes filled with free books in English and Spanish are available for anyone to access.
The United Way of Northern Utah reported that nearly two-thirds of low-income families have no books, and currently, more than half of Ogden School District third graders read below grade level.
“To know that so many children in our community don’t have access to books is heartbreaking,” said Teresa Martinez, student engagement coordinator for WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning. “It’s even more heartbreaking to know that some children don’t have books in their native language.”
The mini libraries are placed in Ogden neighborhoods and anyone can leave or take a book for free at any time.
Yuritzi Rosas Hernandez, vice president of community engagement for WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning, said she couldn’t imagine her life without books, but as a child, finding books that represented her was difficult.
“I remember finding a book about a girl who was an immigrant, and one page was in Spanish, and the other was in English,” she said. “My mom and I read the book together and started crying because I finally found a book that represented me.”
One of the goals of the Little Neighborhood Libraries is to ignite a passion for reading in children by providing them with books tailored to their interests.
The United Way of Northern Utah has a list of suggested books to donate, and anyone can contribute, even if they do not live close by. Donations are accepted online or in person at WSU’s Ogden or Davis campus.
“We want to help make the donation process as easy as possible,” Martinez said. “Our goal is to increase the community’s access to books by getting our campus and community involved.”
For more information about how to donate and volunteer opportunities, visit the Center for Community Engaged Learning’s website.
Addison Rodriguez, Marketing & Communications
Bryan Magaña, public relations director