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Community Partners and Community Service in Community Reading Program

Pierce County Library System

Innovation Leader: Mary Getchell, Communications Director, mgetchell@piercecountylibrary.org

Problem Statement

Pierce County Library System continuously seeks to provide and encourage reading opportunities for adults; foster and strengthen community involvement and unity through a shared reading activity; and get as many people at one time reading, talking, debating, sharing, and enjoying the same book, at the same time in its community one-book program: Pierce County READS. PCLS was interested in broadening participation and offering a community service component to the program.

Innovation

To further PCLS’s commitment to community involvement, it established partnerships with dozens of public and private organizations to participate as community partners with Pierce County READS. For Pierce County READS 2010, PCLS created a partnership with Emergency Food Network (EFN), a nonprofit organization that provides emergency food assistance throughout Pierce County. EFN provided PCLS with food bins in all 18 library buildings, as well as some Pierce County READS community partner locations. PCLS encouraged people to bring nonperishable food items to the more than 40 events associated with Pierce County READS.

Progress

During the two-month program, the generous contributions from our communities totaled 4,647 pounds of food donations. In addition, numerous media sources carried news stories about the reading event and community service project. EFN was overjoyed with the support and is a community partner again in 2011 for Pierce County READS.