First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa has teamed up with the Literacy Council of West Alabama to spread access to books.
The church and its missions committee worked to raise money and collect books for "little libraries." The small libraries are freestanding, outdoor bookshelves where people can take a book free of charge or leave a book for others to read.
Leanne Spencer, chairwoman of the women's group at First Presbyterian Church, said the church has a long partnership with the Literacy Council.
“Our goal is that we want to encourage a love for reading which we believe then boosts education and literacy,” Spencer said. “That’s why we wanted to raise this money and collect these books to try to give momentum to this project.”
Spencer said Judith Sawyer, chairwoman of the church's missions committee spearheaded the project.
On July 9, Spencer and Sawyer donated $2,456 to Literary Council Executive Director Charlotte Voss and Board Chair Jim Johnson for the little libraries.
First Presbyterian raised all of the money within the church by selling homemade Mother's Day cards and collecting money through its Coins for Change initiative.
All of the money collected went toward building and filling the little libraries. Spencer said the Literacy Council of West Alabama will be in charge of placement, building and maintaining the libraries with First Presbyterian’s resources.
The church collected 1,361 new or gently used books.
“I think this project exceeded our expectations in terms of what we at the church were able to do,” Spencer said. “It engaged the entire church.”
The First Presbyterian’s Middle School Youth Girls, Girl Scout Troop 40080 and First Presbyterian members painted six book receptacles for the Literary Council. The Literary Council will decide when and where to place the little libraries around Northport and Tuscaloosa.
“This was kind of a no-brainer in terms of wanting to push books, give people the opportunity to put their hands on books,” Spencer said.
Spencer said church members enjoyed the project and help spread awareness about the Literacy Council.
“It was a win-win project and a lot of fun to work on,” Spencer said.