The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club continues its partnership with the Sanibel Public Library through its books for children program.
Each week, at the Rotary's regular meetings, a guest speaker updates Rotarians on activities or speaks about a specific topic. The Rotary then donates a book to the children's room at the library in the name of the speaker, honoring that speaker with a longtime legacy and in a very useful way.
"Rotary starts with our youth," said Club President Scot Congress. "We have always supported reading, from our yearly dictionary donations to area third graders, and to our donations to the Library -- it's a natural fit for us."
Youth Librarian Barb Dunkle and Rotary Club President Scott Congress with children at the Sanibel Public Library. PHOTO PROVIDED.
How does it work? Youth Librarian Barb Dunkle puts together a list and selection of the best new children's books, and some classic favorites. Rotarians have this small library on hand and show the selection to each speaker, who in turn picks a book to be donated in his or her name.
"This is a terrific idea -- the speakers can select books they read as children and have happy memories of; or they can select books of local interest, on sea life or alligators, for example; or they can select something fun and interesting about a hobby or maps or history. Any topic is possible," said Margaret Mohundro, library director.
Congress thinks encouraging reading, and ensuring children are good readers, is good for the future and gets them where they need to go in life.
The project began in 2012 with the first donation, "Listen To My Trumpet!" by Mo Willems, a New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator and winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal for excellence in children's literature. It was donated by Rotary in honor of Scout Troop 140, whose members spoke to the club at a 2012 meeting.
"This is a wonderful service provided by the Rotary Club," said Library Commissioner Sandy Zahorchak. "We want to foster a love of books and reading among the children of Sanibel, and adding these new titles helps us do that. The children are always excited to see what book comes in next. We thank the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary for its generosity."
Partnering with the Library is not new for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary. The Rotary, working through the Joan Hunt Cory Fund of the Sanibel Public Library Foundation, donated early literacy computer stations, featuring software for preschoolers and early readers, working with their parents, to learn colors, shapes, art, maps, music, and more.
Additionally, the Rotary has provided funding for a specialized business collection for the library's eShelf service of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.