Tonight, Mecklenburg County has 18 more community libraries than it had this morning.
As Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan explained at this morning’s Day of Service press conference, “We decided to focus time, energy and funds on giving back to the community that has given so much to our organization.” Each year the Hornets Foundation, Bank of America and Lowe’s invest in a specific initiative, and this year’s emphasis is education and literacy. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation is thrilled and grateful to accept a $100,000 investment in Library services, materials and programs, and to share the stage with Freedom School Partners, Child Care Resources and CrossRoads Charlotte. Charles Bowman, Bank of America’s Charlotte and North Carolina Market President remarked, “Being community-minded is why we are here today. To help our community thrive, we have to ensure our children are reading on grade level. Reading is one of the greatest predictors of future success, so Bank of America is excited to rally with other community leaders to bring thousands of books to children throughout Charlotte.”
The effort began right away. Volunteers spent the day installing shelving and stocking community libraries at childcare centers throughout what Read Charlotte has identified as the “book desert” – areas where children don’t have easy access to books at home. Sebastian Ganson, a first-time Day of Service volunteer from Bank of America who works in technology, was drawn to the project because of the focus on literacy. “I have four kids under 8, and they love reading and use the Library regularly. I was inspired to participate today because I read about all Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is doing for the literacy in our community and I wanted to help.”
Each of the community libraries contains 500 to 1500 books, and they’ll be restocked regularly with materials collected from Hornets book drives. Travis Jackson, the director of a literacy-based enrichment program that serves K-5 students at the Sugaw Creek YWCA Youth Learning Center sees the difference reading makes for kids every day. “This isn’t a job for me, it’s a purpose. This library is especially important for our kids because an investment from the Hornets changes the culture at our center. These kids are huge fans, and now they see that the Hornets care about them and their education.”
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation is grateful to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation and its Executive Director Bernie Washington for organizing today’s Day of Service and inviting the Library Foundation to be part of it. We look forward to a long partnership with the Hornets, Bank of America, Lowe’s, our fellow awardee organizations and all the individuals and organizations working to achieve greater literacy and educational success. Today’s 18 community libraries are a big first step and we are eager to take the next steps together.