Ball State is helping fill the shelves of Little Libraries around Muncie and Delaware County by participating in the United Way Book Drive.

“United Way of Delaware County is focused on breaking generational poverty in our community," said Jim Flatford, director of impact for United Way of Delaware County. "We see education as the way to give low-income children a better chance in life, and we see literacy as the main key to education.”

United Way focuses on the third-grade reading level specifically,  because that is when children stop learning to read and instead start reading to learn, Flatford said. If by third grade a child cannot read, they are four times more likely to not finish high school on time.

Book Drive Locations:

  • Atrium food court (in front of the bookstore)
  • L.A. Pittenger Student Center lobby (by the information desk)
  • Burkhardt Building lobby (west end by the bulletin board)
  • College of Architecture and Planning (ground floor near the air hockey table)
  • Cooper Science building (center lobby area) 
  • Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center (south doors) 
  • Bracken Library (by the Bookmark Café)
  • North Quad Building lobby (ground floor/east hall)
  • Teachers College (main entrance near the elevators)
  • West Quad Building (main entrance)

Flatford also said  United Way has found that 31 percent of Delaware County’s children live in poverty — the highest percent in the state. 

To help increase literacy in the community, Ball State has created 15 new Little Libraries. In an effort to help supply books for these Little Libraries, United Way has started a drive to collect as many books as possible. The book drive was also part of the United Way Day of Action. 

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“Our community’s children [will benefit] —- especially those who do not have easy access to books,” Flatford said. “Since we like to include a variety of age-appropriate books in the Little Free Libraries, adults will also get to enjoy these books.”

The goal of the book drive, which began on Sept. 1 and will continue until Sept. 14, is to get Ball State students and employees involved in helping further literacy initiatives in Delaware County.

Krista Flynn, program director for the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State, is one of the coordinators for the book drive. She said  they are accepting all types of books, but hope to have an abundance of children and young adult books donated.

“Donating books may seem like a small thing, but these books will be important to those who read them,” Flatford said. “United Way really appreciates Ball State’s book drive because it will put books in the hands of many children and adults. We are one week into the book drive and are extremely pleased with the response that we have received.”

Flynn also said  some journalism classes have been decorating cards and putting them in the donated books. These cards can have inspirational quotes about reading or just sayings to make it more fun for those reading the Little Library books.

“When people get involved in their community, they can do a lot to change it for the better,” Flatford said.

Flatford hopes  with this book drive, many students will realize the importance of literacy and want to help spread it among the community.