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CLiF is in good company!

June 11, 2012

By Karen Mitchell

We love the work we do here at CLiF: inspiring a love of reading and writing in low-income, at-risk, and rural children through fun and interactive literacy programs and donations of free, high-quality books to children birth to age 12.

But enough about us! We would like to take a moment to champion some of our “brothers in arms” who use few resources to make a big difference in the lives of people around the world!

Little Free Libraries

Now considered a “movement,” Little Free Libraries was started three years ago by Todd Bol, a Wisconsin native who decided to share his love of books by installing a free book exchange booth in his own front yard. Now there are Little Free Libraries in at least 28 states and 6 countries. It turns out sharing books doesn’t just increase readership, it promotes community and brings people together. To build your own Little Free Library or find out more visit

Waiting for the Biblioburro

Waiting for the Biblioburro is an award-winning children’s book based on the real life activities of a true literacy champion, Luis Soriano. Luis braves numerous hazards to bring books to children in rural Columbia on his donkey. According to the book’s author, Monica Brown, Luis “thinks that when you teach children about being citizens through critical literacy, that they can say ‘no’ to violence. He sees a connection between literacy and democracy and exercising positive choices for community.”

Rita’s Place

In 1981 two nuns founded a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse and poverty. Sometimes the organization’s leaders brought children to visit their parents in prison. Like CLiF, they quickly noticed the link between low literacy rates and incarceration. Rita’s Place’s executive director discovered that many of the parents had come to the same visiting room as children to visit their parents. She thought, “This has got to stop. We have to halt this pattern of generation after generation becoming incarcerated.”

Since 2009, Rita’s Place has contributed over 12,000 books (children’s books included) to prisons in Oregon.

Promising Pages

In Charlotte, NC, Kristina Cruise set a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)” to collect and redistribute 1 million children’s books to area kids who have few, if any books at home. Her organization, Promising Pages, has recently teamed with a local food bank and a hospital with the intent to distribute 1,600 books a week in food backpacks that will go out to kids who would “otherwise not have access to food over the weekend.” Promising Pages is mainly supported by individuals who donate books and volunteers who prepare and distribute them.

Bridge to Literacy Legislation

Dr. Major Lewis Jemison, pastor of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, noticed two things in his work: the difficulties in communities where literacy rates were low and the abundance of good people in his community who were more than willing to help out. Jemison was instrumental in forming what legislator Jabar Shumate called “a common-sense solution to what many would call a literacy crisis.” The result is the state’s newest legislation, the “Bridge to Literacy” program, which will train and supply volunteers to work in conjunction with schools to help kids achieve success in literacy during the crucial early years.

It’s heartening to know all of the good work that is going on out there.

Are there any programs the promote literacy in your town? Please let us know about them!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kasha Godleski permalink
    June 13, 2012 7:46 pm

    A few months ago, on the Syracuse University campus, I saw John Wood (former Microsoft executive) speak about his organization, Room to Read ( He and his organization are doing great work to try to get books in to people’s hands all over the world. Check out the Room to Read webpage – If you would like to see John’s speech and hear his story – check out Really good stuff!

    • June 13, 2012 7:55 pm


      Thanks for the tip. We’ll definitely check out Room to Read.


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