Providence Marketplace retailer Books-A-Million brought in more than $5,000 with a recent book drive benefiting the United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland (UWWUC), and the local organization will use the books to launch a new venture aimed at boosting early learning.
Campaign coordinator Mistie Ragland worked with Books-A-Million to collect the truckload of books.
"We are so thrilled to be working with Books-A-Million in Wilson County," Ragland said. "The entire staff was incredible to work with and one employee, Sam Lewis, managed to raise over $2,500 worth of books on her own. Basically, customers were able to donate to help our United Way receive quality, popular books which we are making available through our neighborhood library program.
According to Ragland, the books are available in several locations and are housed in small, outdoor libraries.
"Through our new program, you can take, leave or borrow a book," she said.
While the small libraries do contain books for other age groups, the primary goal is to make good books available to children who might not be able to afford them or do not have access to a local library.
"We've only had a few of the small libraries installed to date, but we hope to have more installed throughout the county soon," Ragland explained.
The program is one of several new approaches United Way is using to impact the community which has supported its traditional programs over the years, she continued.
"Most people probably aren't fully aware of how much United Way works to support education and especially early learning," Ragland said. "It's far easier to prevent problems with these types of programs than it is to correct issues later in life."