No. 1053



As founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project, known locally as the Conway Bookcase Project, one of the things I am most grateful for is the tremendous support we have here in our community for this project. Since we started in 2005, we have had more than 5,000 people directly involved in one way or another.
This past October we had our 8th annual Bookcase Literacy Banquet to raise the funds to build 50 more personalized bookcases that will bring our total to 600 since we started. Just think about that -- 600 pre-school children from low-income families whose lives will be and are being changed forever. That is only here in Conway, as we have more than 1,000 additional bookcases built and presented in other communities across the nation.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Because this project is so important, I just want to keep us aware and focused on the need. We are definitely going to keep it running, as the need is so great.
For this reason I want to give you an update on our progress and also some news about other projects that are forming to benefit their community. Over the past few months I have personally been to about 15 different communities in our state, talking with community leaders about starting a Bookcase for Every Child project, mostly in county seat towns because they have resources many of the others do not have.
This past April, the Head Start Center in our neighboring community of Morrilton burned, and they lost everything, including books for their children to read. We had a book drive here to help them replace some of what they lost, and a few weeks ago I delivered more than 600 books to Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer, who agreed to head up the Morrilton Bookcase Project. I am excited about good things that are going to be happening there in the very near future.
As part of this update, I would be remiss if I did not tell you about a most exciting plan now developing with Chief Randall Aragon, former Police Chief here in Conway and the man who helped us get our project off the ground. Randall is now Chief of Police in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is working with the Alaska State Literacy Board to get a project started in this community. He wants to have me fly up there and speak to their Inaugural Bookcase Awards Ceremony sometime next year. At this point this is not firm, but stay tuned and I will let you know how it turns out. One thing for sure, Randall is committed to improving literacy and I am confident he will make it happen.
Since the last time I gave you an update, we also have a bookcase project taking place in Oneonta, N.Y., started by Marie Lusins, a community leader who knows the importance of literacy and has the ability to get others involved in the cause. What is so exciting for me is that it only takes one person, the right person, to get a Bookcase for Every Child project started in any community in America. As you read this, if you have an interest in helping some very special children have the literacy skills to help them succeed in life, e-mail me at and I will be happy to help you get started.
I also have a limited supply of spiral bound books titled, “A Primer for the Bookcase for Every Child Project”, that gives complete details of how to begin, carry out and continue a bookcase project in your community. This book has a complete description, along with newspaper articles and other documents that makes it simple and easy to understand. Let me know if you would like to have a copy. First come, first served.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)