Yes, it’s true. Reading is my superpower. You may not think mine is a bonafide superpower, not like time travel or invisibility or super human strength, but it’s legit. In Washington County Arkansas where 20% of adult population reads at an illiterate level, reading is most definitely a superpower.
The reading superpower was passed on to me from my mother who possesses the same trait. There’s never been a time I’ve not loved reading. And NOT being able to read? I can’t imagine it.
A year ago when we moved to Fayetteville, one of the first things I bought for our new house was a Little Free Library. I thought it to be the perfect housewarming gift, plus since learning of them, I’d wanted one. And so we ordered one and installed it according to the instructions that came with it. I planted black-eyed Susans. Neighbors took books and left books, and since day one of my new librarian job, all has been well with our library.
Months ago, due to a series of semi-related events, I decided that the Ozark Literacy Council would be my local cause. (Because everyone needs a cause.) I researched it. I donated money to my new cause during Arkansas Gives. Since then, I’ve been “meaning” to volunteer.
The best laid plans…
Instead, I became busy with other things. Still the idea was in the back of my mind because of my superpower and all.
And then, as things often come together in a magical sort of way, Jackie Wolven and a few other amazing Northwest Arkansas Blogger friends, decided that our blogger group should and could be doing so much more. We have voices and influence and the capacity to reach thousands of folks through social media. (#MultipleSuperpowers) What if we joined forces for the common good? What if we focused on a single important cause per month? What could we could accomplish?
That’s how #NWArkCares was born. Our mission is to focus on a different cause each month. Our first—during the month of September—is literacy. Which just happens to coincide with my superpower.
See how things come together? The Ozark Literacy Council is a major supporter of Little Free Libraries. I love reading and writing and I have a Little Free Library. Ours is a destined-to-be relationship.
And now a story within a story…
I’m always on the lookout for books to include in our Little Free Library because sometimes our inventory runs low. Plus, I like to rotate our books because fresh inventory is important in any business. (#BusinessTip)
As few days ago as I browsed a local used book store, I overhead an older gentleman discussing with the retail clerk how he and his brother, both avid readers, read a book a day. His brother had recently died, leaving him with lots of books to donate. “Great books,” I heard him say. The bookstore guy didn’t seem interested, and there was no one else available to help the man with all the books.
Boom! Insert me, the eavesdropping semi-librarian with the reading superpower.
I told him about the Little Free Libraries in our county. I pointed in the direction of our neighborhood and explained there are at least five libraries within only a few blocks. “We would love your books,” I said. He seemed sad and confused and probably a bit disappointed that he couldn’t simply drop off his donation and be done with it. But he thanked me, and that was that. I expected nothing more from our brief encounter.
One day later, I found a generous box of primo hardback books next to our Little Free Library. John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, David Baldacci, a few classics like The Hobbit and there was even a Johnny Cash book. Christmas Day in September had come to our Little Free Library.
Here’s the thing. We all have superpowers. And just as we learned from our favorite childhood Marvel Comic heroes, it’s important to use our superpowers for good. Right? To the SUPERman who left his books at our Little Free Library—thank you!
Next, I plan to take my reading superpower to the next level and volunteer with the Ozark Literacy Council. The council needs adult volunteers to teach reading to those who can’t.
I can so do that.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Reading Inspires Children