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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Our Community Book Bank is Growing!

By Daniele Berman, Operations Manager

As our generous community continues to share books with us–by clearing out their bookshelves at home; running book drives in their neighborhoods, schools, and organizations; and purchasing books through book sales and local bookstores–we are able to expand the impact of our most far-reaching program: Community Book Bank. Through this program, we distribute an average of 1,500 books each week at over 30 different sites throughout Durham and Orange counties. In community health clinics, social service agencies, and neighborhood centers, we stock free bookshelves that are available to all of the children who pass through those locations. We’re excited to tell you about three of our newest Community Book Bank partners!


Community Book Bank shelf at EDCI

East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI)

Founded in 2008, EDCI is committed to changing outcomes and expectations for children and families living in a 120-block area of East Durham. Modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, EDCI aims to reach this goal by providing a pipeline of high-quality services that starts with children at birth and continues with them through elementary school, middle school and high school. EDCI’s vision is for all children and youth in the EDCI zone to successfully graduate from high school, ready for college or a career.

EDCI’s pipeline of services includes early childhood interventions, parent and family support, afterschool and summer programs, literacy programs, health and nutrition services, arts programs and community outreach.  EDCI’s target schools include Y.E. Smith Elementary School, Neal Middle School and Southern High School.


Bookshelf for youth at the Durham Literacy Center

Durham Literacy Center

The Durham Literacy Center is the leading adult literacy non-profit organization serving Durham County. Their mission is to empower Durham County residents who want to improve their lives and the lives of their families by improving their literacy skills.

Since 1985, the Durham Literacy Center has served more than 16,000 people in their Adult Literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Youth Education Programs, in addition to projects that they operate in partnership with many other agencies across Durham County. Following their strategic plan, the Durham Literacy Center helps Durham County youth and adults gain the reading and writing skills, English language skills, and educational credentials needed to earn a living wage. In addition, they integrate computer literacy, job readiness, and resources to help parents prepare their children for school into their instructional programs to enhance their students’ capacities to achieve their goals.

Southside Neighborhood Association

Southside resident Anastasia helps set up the new Community Book Bank shelf

Southside resident Anastasia helps set up the new Community Book Bank shelf

The Southside area consists of approximately 125 acres located on the southern edge of downtown Durham and just north of North Carolina Central University (NCCU). After years of economic disinvestment, the area was found to contain the highest concentrations of vacant properties of any Durham neighborhood and one of the lowest rates of homeownership. In  the early 2000s, the city of Durham’s Community Development Department began a redevelopment project aiming to revitalize the neighborhood. The neighborhood now includes new mixed-income housing ranging from apartments to bungalow homes alongside renovated older homes that are original to the neighborhood. The active Southside Neighborhood Association, housed in the community center in the middle of the neighborhood, is working to unify the diverse population of Southside and to provide opportunities for youth to succeed alongside their neighbors.

Want to learn more about our Community Book Bank and see a list of some of our other Book Bank partners? Click here!

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