In this, its fifth year, the drive brought in a record 3,686 books for young readers who are receiving treatment at the Pediatric Oncology Clinic of the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
In addition, the drive exceeded organizers’ goals to reach a five-year milestone of 10,000 books. With the new additions, the total stands at 12,691 books.
The UNC Libraries Diversity Committee initiated the book drive and operates it each year in conjunction with campus partners. “It’s been remarkable to see how people just take this to heart,” said Eileen Dewitya, co-chair of the Diversity Committee and one of the drive organizers.
Books go to the Book Fairy, a.k.a. Kathy Humphries, whose own son, Karl, passed away from cancer in 2007. Karl was a devoted reader, and his mom made it her mission to give other kids a chance for literary escape while receiving treatment.
Several departments across campus spontaneously staged their own collection drives, resulting in bags and boxes of brightly-colored books arriving in the library. For a second year, UNC medical students staged a competition among themselves, resulting in 1,100 donations. Even the Student Library Council at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh took part, delivering several large boxes of books.
Dewitya noted that the drive is also fulfilling a goal of the Diversity Committee to collect and deliver titles representing many cultures.
The undergraduate student group Sangam, for example, made a special effort to collect books in support of its mission of South Asian awareness. And Dewitya says that the publishing house Hohm Press contacted her and arranged to donate books from its stock related to world cultures.
The Libraries would like to thank everyone who made this year’s book drive such a success. We especially thank the Health Sciences Library, the Law Library, the School of Information and Library Science, the School of Education, the School of Social Work, the FedEx Global Education Center, and the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, along with everyone who made themselves a partner by setting up book collections around campus and in their communities.
- The Book Fairy website
- Escape through books (portrait of the Book Fairy, Kathy Humphries, by UNC News Services)