The Mercer English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta, will host a book drive on campus lasting until the end of the semester to fund family literacy programs across the nation. The initiative is headed by Amanda Rountree, a junior at Mercer University and member of Sigma Tau Delta since last year.
Rountree has placed donation bins in the Connell Student Center, Willingham Chapel and on the second floor lounge of Ryals Hall. The bins will remain in place until the end of finals week so students can donate their used textbooks, workbooks and any other books no longer needed after fall and spring classes. Any type of book can be donated, except books that are dirty, moldy, water-damaged, or have missing covers or pages.
The books will go directly to Better World Books, a for-profit organization that works through college campuses, libraries, student groups and bookstores to recycle unwanted books and fund over 85 literacy programs across the world. Better World will choose the most suitable action for each book. If the books are unusable, they will be recycled. If books meet the donation requirements for charity programs, the books will be donated, and if Better World is able to resell the used books, a small portion of profits will go to Mercer’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter.
The majority of the profits, however, will be directly donated to fund one of Better World’s partnered literacy programs. For this book drive, Rountree has chosen to send profits to the National Center for Family Literacy. This organization takes a family-focused approach to promoting literacy in America by partnering initiatives for parent education and involvement in child learning. The organization’s stated mission is to inspire and engage families in pursuit of education and learning together, a goal based on studies that show family, home and community are the true drivers of a child’s education. NCFL has helped over 1 million families make educational and economic progress since its beginning in 1989. To date, the organization has received a total of $330,000 from Better World Books-funded book drives across more than 888 college campuses and libraries across the country.
Rountree chose to head up a book drive to fund this initiative in order to provide Sigma Tau Delta members with unique internship opportunities and to promote literacy to underprivileged families and children.
“I saw the opportunity of the book drive as an easy way for our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and the rest of the students at Mercer to contribute to national literacy in the easiest and simplest manner possible,” said Rountree.
This is the chapter’s first project contributing to this cause, but many members hope to run the book drive annually. “We’re definitely trying to keep this going as an annual thing, and I’ll run it again next year for sure,” said Rountree.
The incentive behind the book drive aligns with Sigma Tau Delta’s own mission of creating a resource for students interested in making the study of literature their vocation and/or profession. Mercer’s Tau Epsilon chapter has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. For the past several years, student members have presented papers at Sigma Tau Delta’s national conference and have had scholarly and creative work published in The Rectangle and The Review, the honor society’s two national journals.
Dr. Anya Silver, the chapter’s faculty adviser, believes the book drive will be a benefit to the students involved and to the problem of illiteracy in general.
“Studies upon studies have shown that students who are read to as children and who have books in their home do much better in school than students who do not…Amanda is spearheading a book drive that will put books in the hands of children and young adults who need them most, hopefully sparking a life-long love of reading in their young minds. I hope that the Mercer community will support Amanda’s important project by donating books that they no longer need and that another reader will treasure,” urged Silver.