The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State is hosting a book drive through April to support the Mid-State Literacy Council, a State College-based nonprofit organization that promotes literacy among adults. Donations can be dropped off at Eisenhower Auditorium on the corner of Shortlidge and Eisenhower roads on the University Park campus.
Mid-State Literacy Council requests new and gently used books for preschool through sixth-grade reading levels. The council emphasizes a need for nonfiction books, such as science and nature titles, which have been shown to expand vocabulary and knowledge. The council aims to collect a minimum of 2,200 books to distribute to children in Centre County.
Blue book collection buckets are located in the Eisenhower lobby during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and during public events at the auditorium. Eisenhower will be closed Saturday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Jan. 2.
Since 2010, the council has collected books for children throughout the county who do not have the resources to purchase their own. According to the council, many kids in Centre County do not have books at home to read during the summer, which can result in students losing the skills they acquired in the previous school year.
By collecting books year-round, the council can help children build their “forever library” of books in their own homes.
“The kids are ecstatic to receive the books. They feel cared for,” said Amy Wilson, executive director of the council.
The books are donated to Howard, Mountaintop Area, Port Matilda and Wingate elementary schools. The council hopes to collect even more books in the coming years to expand its service and include more schools.
Illiteracy is a serious nationwide issue that often goes unnoticed. In Centre County, 11 percent of residents have low literacy rates, the council said.
The council offers various adult literacy services, but the best way to prevent low literacy in adults is to develop a strong literacy foundation during childhood.
All of the council’s programs are funded by the community for the community. It receives no government funding.
For more information, contact Medora Ebersole, Center for the Performing Arts education and community programs manager, at (814) 863-6752.