Book giveaway at University Hospital
From left to right: Ellen Byer, Marketing & Public Relations, LSU Health Sciences Center; Tyrec Robir; Alphonse Robir; Michele Lewis, Children's Book Bank Chair; Joseph Billingsley, NOGSBA Co-Chair
The Children's Book Bank is perennially in the business of bringing books and good cheer to kids in the New Orleans area. Administered by the New Orleans Gulf-South Booksellers Association (NOGSBA), the program provides books to literacy programs, schools, and other organizations. The Children's Book Bank is sustained by publishers and sales reps who provide books at trade shows such as those held by the Southeast Booksellers Association and Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association.
"The Children's Book Bank exists to get books into the hands of children in need. We strive to enrich the lives of children throughout the year, but there's something a little extra special about giving books away at Christmas," said Michele Lewis, chair of the Children's Book Bank and owner of the Afro-American Book Stop in New Orleans.
Christmas book cart at University Hospital
From left to right: Joseph Billingsley, NOGSBA Co-Chair; Michele Lewis, Children's Book Bank Chair
This holiday season, the Children's Book Bank donated more than 100 books to the New Orleans Library's Read Aloud Program at the Desire McNair Head Start Center. Through the Read Aloud Program, volunteers make weekly visits to Head Start classes and hold storytime for children between three and five years old, who are also given books to encourage their own individual reading.
Volunteers from the Children's Book Bank also visited children in the pediatric center and emergency room at University Hospital, handing out books as Christmas gifts. NOGSBA also donated nearly 150 books to the hospital's Reach Out and Read program.
Clockwise, from left: Rita Barnett; Betty Knight, Headstart teacher; Monica Johnson; Michele Lewis, Children's Book Bank Chair; Joseph Billingsley, NOGSBA Co-Chair; Garland Johson (child with book); Sue Marchal, reading volunteer; Perry McDonald (in stroller)
Joseph Billingsley, NOGSBA co-chair and sales manager of Pelican Publishing Company, said, "It was great to be able to bring a little joy to these children at Christmas time. And by giving books to the hospital's Reach Out and Read Program, where the doctors personally give out books to the children during their regular visits to demonstrate the importance of reading, we hope to bring a lasting positive impact to the children here."