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Book'em

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Gift Distribution, Human Services, Libraries, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Mission: Book’em creates a more literate Nashville and ignites children’s passion for reading through book ownership and enthusiastic volunteers. Vision: Book’em envisions a future in Nashville where all children own books and know first-hand the joy and value of reading.

Results: Since its founding in 1989, Book'em has donated more than one million books to children in middle Tennessee. Teachers tell us that many of their students would not have books of their own if they didn't get books from Book'em. About 300 community volunteers act as reading role models.

Target demographics: economically disadvantaged children

Direct beneficiaries per year: 18,000 children and teens

Geographic areas served: Nashville / Davidson County

Programs: Books for Nashville's Kids provides books for children and teens who do not have any or many books of their own in their homes. We partner with agencies serving children in need and provide books to special events, classrooms, and anywhere the gift of a book can impact a child. In 2019, Bookem furnished more than 80,000 books through about 150 partner programs and organizations. Books are collected through in-kind donations from businesses, congregations and individuals, as well as monetary donations used to purchase books at great prices. Some groups conduct book drives on our behalf, while others ask guests to bring books for children and/or teens to their birthday parties or other celebrations. Some people clean off their shelves of very gently used books that they no longer need. Book'em greatly appreciates all those who donate books and money, so that children and teens can discover how wonderful books are. When books arrive at our office, they are counted and sorted by age group. Thank you emails are sent to the donors, inventory figures are entered into our database; and books are shelved awaiting distribution. Volunteers and staff help with these duties. Then, these volunteers and staff also help with preparing books to be distributed based on requests received from agencies, nonprofits, preschools and schools to give to the economically disadvantaged youth that they serve. Through Reading Is Fundamental, volunteers read aloud and engage with elementary classrooms and help every child pick out new books to own. These volunteers visit their classrooms about 5 times a year.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had been reading to my second grade class for a couple of months. I always asked the children what books they would like me to bring to them to select from the following month. One child had requested a particular book. I had not been able to find the specific book this child requested, but had found a similar one. After his turn to make his choice, he came up to me and hugged me and said "This is the best day of my life. You brought me a book I really want to read." This felt really good and certainly reinforced for me the wonderful work Book-em does in helping to create joyful readers, which thereby enhances literacy among our young Nashville students.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of being both a RIF volunteer and board member for Book'em for the past 3 years. The work they do to inspire reading and being reading role models for MNPS youth is fundamental to their educational development and success. I've been fortunate to read to a 4th grade class this year. The students cheer when i arrive and are very engaged during the reading. Their book selection is obviously very important to them. I receive hugs and request to return at the end of each visit. THEY inspire ME. My 16 year old daughter is an avid reader and has started volunteering at Book'em this past year. She has grown as an individual and as an engaged citizen of our community as a result. Thank you, Book'em for growing us!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started working with Book'em as a volunteer during company sponsored volunteer days. I was truly inspired by how many children they are able to serve in the Nashville area through management of the local RIF program. Each classroom gets to experience the magic of reading which opens the door to a whole new world of imagination! Each child in a RIF class is given 5 BRAND NEW books each year! I can't imagine growing up without books! There are still several elementary schools that Book'em hasn't yet been able to expand their services to. They need our help to continue grow their program so that each elementary school and grade level benefit from the magic of reading and book ownership. These children are the next generation.

I am now a board member and had the privilege to participate in Read Me Day at Carter Lawrence elementary school. These children are amazing! And they all love to read. We need to feed that hunger. We need to improve the literacy of our youth. Book'em/RIF volunteers do this every time they step into a classroom and read a story. I am so honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing and inspiring organization!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Book'em is such a great organization that works tirelessly to get books in the hands of Nashville children that need them!

As a volunteer for Book'em, I always enjoy my time reading in the classroom. One of my favorite memories was this past year in a kindergarten class. After passing out books to all of the children, one little boy came up to me and started showing me all of the words he could read in his new book, which almost brought tears to my eyes as I could see how important it was for him to have books of his own to practice reading so he can become a lifelong reader.

I am so proud to be part of an organization that is doing so many good things for my community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Book'em and as a current intern on the Board, I have fallen even more in love with Book'em's message. Not only because I love reading and love spreading the joy of reading but because the volunteers and staff are so passionate about making an impact on Nashville. The statistics are astounding of kids in Nashville that can't read or don't have the opportunity to read. I mean how many of us take advantage of buying a book. Unfortunately there's many kids that would love to have a book of their own and in a small way, Book'em is providing that opportunity. With our 30th Anniversary around the corner, I hope that our impact continues to expand! Book'em is a great organization with a clear vision of making a difference in Nashville. Even if you're not in a financial place to donate, there are ways you can make a difference. Book'em has numerous initiatives that require many volunteers, so time can also be just an big an impact as a monetary donation. The reward you get from reading to kids is indescribable. Book'em is definitely going places!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Book'em is great organization that is helping bring books and literacy to the underserved and underprivileged kids of the metro Nashville schools. This organization's focus on literacy and getting books into the hands of every child really speaks to me personally as an avid reader that was privileged to grow up with books and parents that read to me from birth. Book'em's mission to serve the kids that aren't as privileged with books and reading and literacy is really what lead me to want to serve on the board.

Mary503

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a volunteer Reading is Fundamental reader with Book'em. We visit a classroom five times each year to read and to distribute books to the students. I also serve as a member of the Board. Book'em has a number of great programs in addition to RIF that are aimed at providing children with books of their own from birth through high school. Helping kids become readers is a gateway to help them expand their horizons and their dreams. Kids who have books at home do better in school and life than kids who don't.

Mary Silva Doctor

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Book’em is so critical to youth literacy in our city. Book’em gets volunteer readers in classrooms to share their love of reading and donates books to kids who need them most, giving them stories that they can read again and again.

Reading opens up imaginations and gives kids the confidence to be lifelong learners. And Book’em is helping kids do just that.

I have seen firsthand the changes this nonprofit makes in the lives of children here in Nashville. It is such an incredible organization!

1 Susan539

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a Bookem volunteer is so much fun. I love visiting and reading with children and they are so excited to be able to pick out their books to keep. It doesn't take a lot of time but is very rewarding.

2 Kristine26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ChanceLight partnered with Book'em a few years ago to develop a Corporate Sponsorship program that would allow employees to adopt classrooms and potentially even a school. With the help of Book'em, in less than 2 years, ChanceLight was able to go from adopting 6 classrooms to an entire elementary school. The work that Book'em does to help children is astounding. They truly care about every student and work diligently to make sure all children have someone to look up to and to read to them. ChanceLight's mission is: helping change the direction of children's lives and we truly believe Book'em aligns with that mission.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Book'em for 7 years now and have continually seen them accomplish a lot with a little. The staff is small but they work hard every day to make sure that kids have access to books and readers. Great group of people!

1 Wolfgang R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I grew up in Germany (at a time way before cable TV, internet and Ipads) we hung out for hours at the local library. I remember getting lost in mythological stories as well as adventures of master detectives. Books were never scarce in our lives!
I had no idea how many elementary school children don't have sufficient access to books and thus don't have a fair chance to enhance their reading skills.
I am glad to be a volunteer for RIF! I get to read books to and with "my students" a few times a year. I know, they will be waiting for me to come to class and distribute books that will become their own!
What a win-win situation. I get to enjoy reading children's books and contribute a bit to creating interest in reading and increasing the ability to imagine and to connect

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering at Book'em! As a former educator I enjoy being able to go into classrooms and read to children and see the joy it brings them when they get to pick out their brand new books! I am amazed at the number of books that are processed and given away through the many programs that Book'em provides to the underserved children in Nashville.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Book'em is a fantastic group fulfilling a definite need in our community. The mission of Book'em is simple- putting books in the hands of Nashville's youth that need it most. Through its flagship program Reading is Fundamental, volunteer readers go into Nashville schools 5 times per school year and read to the children. Most importantly, though, each child takes home a brand new book after each reading. I can speak from personal experience that while the children love the story time, they most cherish having their very own new book to take home. If you are looking for a nonprofit having a real impact in the community, Book'em meets that criteria!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hi , I started as a volunteer for Bookem helping in our in house Library.
I found that each time I went my life became fuller with the work we were doing, providing books to the Community. Every once in a while my favorite books from childhood came across the table and the memories that came with them. I started to read to a first grade classroom. Everytime I left I knew I left a piece of myself with them along with a book they could take home and call there own.I was becoming totally addicted to being a part of this wonderful selfless non- profit called Bookem. The smiles , the excitement of children wanting to share and read together is just the best feeling. I cry when I leave them for the summer, and count the time we will all be together reading again. Today 5 years later Iam on the board as Secretary and working even harder to get the word out in the Community what we are and what we do. But most of all how good it feels and how it effects so many Children and there future. Without reading and books we are nothing. Join the experience of a lifetime. Putting Children in our community First.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Book 'em is amazing! There's nothing more fun than reading to kids and making them proud book owners. It's the best 30 minutes of my month. It is easy to take for granted something as familiar as having books in your home, but the children that I read to really don't, and they are so grateful for the books that we give them. I always feel good after I leave my classroom .

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked for Book'em and am now a volunteer. Book'em is a very small nonprofit that is making a big difference with children in Metropolitan Nashville. We give books to children who don't have books of their own to have at home. Research shows that children with books at home are better readers. One special program of Book'em is giving 5 books to every child who moves into a new Habitat for Humanity house. The books are wrapped up with ribbons and bows with a gift card and are waiting in the house for them. What a wonderful surprise for them! I love helping to pick out the books for these children.
Martha Ann

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Book'em has been a great experience for me so far, and I will continue volunteering with the organization. Through its Reading is Fundamental program, as well as collaborations with other national and local organizations, Book'em is able to distribute thousands of books to underprivileged children -- many of whom would otherwise not have books of their own. An enthusiasm for reading is a lifelong gift that Book'em gives to countless children each year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

RIF is a fine organization, and RIF Nashville's chapter is a truly fabulous one in that our approach is to build a relationship between a reading volunteer and a classroom that involves 5 visits during a school year and the chance for kids to not only hear 5 stories (just for fun) but to choose 5 books with which to begin building their personal library. Because the children we serve often do not own ANY books besides the ones we give them, this is very exciting for them.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Book Em organization has provided many opportunities for the students in my school building to receive books for each student's birthday. This organization send reader/volunteers to my school throughout the school year to read to students in grades K-2. After the volunteer finishes reading the students are able to select a book of their choice to take home. Our students have such wonderful libraries at home due to Book Em promoting literacy. Book Em is a great organization and I have enjoyed every moment of the four years of working with them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful and rewarding experience to volunteer at Book'em! I process incoming book donations and re-send them out to wonderful children who wouldn't otherwise have books of their own to read. The gift we give these children will benefit them for a lifetime!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love my volunteer work at Book'em. Reading to 2nd graders is very rewarding and they are always so happy to see you and the books that you bring them. I would encourage anyone with a love for children and reading to volunteer. It is only about four hours a month and is very rewarding.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I highly encourage anyone who is looking for a rewarding way to give back to the community to consider Book'em. I do not have children of mine own yet, however I have always loved reading and feel that all children should own books. In the fall of 2009 I was assigned my first reading classroom. I was nervous at first, but the Book'em staff was supportive and provided me with lots of training and contact information so that I never felt alone. I read aloud to the class of 20 children 5 times during the 2009-2010 school year. At each visit I would bring a variety of brand new books from the Book’em library, so that each child could select a book of their very own to take home. The children were so sweet and excited to see me everytime. They enjoyed our story time together even if they already knew every word of the book that I was planning on reading to them. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to reading to another class this year.