Member Spotlight - Book'em
Q: What is Book’em?
A: Founded in 1989, Book’em is a local nonprofit children’s literacy organization whose mission is to create a more literate Nashville by helping economically disadvantaged children from birth through high school discover the joy and value of reading through book ownership and enthusiastic volunteers. We fulfill our mission by making children and teens proud owners of new books and bringing volunteer readers into the classrooms of at-risk preschool and elementary-aged children.
Our highest priority is serving Nashville’s disadvantaged children during their preschool and elementary school years. We believe that developing strong literacy skills from an early age is essential for academic and lifelong success. Book’em provides vital resources so that Nashville’s underprivileged children can build their literacy skills. Our programs include Books for Nashville Kids, Reading Is Fundamental and Ready for Reading. Book’em envisions a future in Nashville where all children own books and know firsthand the joy and value of reading. For more information, please visit bookem-kids.org.
Q: Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.
A: For a children's literacy nonprofit, a huge donation of new books is something you need to find a way to say "yes" to. Last spring, we received an extremely large donation from a national retailer. But there were obstacles to overcome: we had no space to store the gaylords full of books, not enough hands to process all the books and not enough recipients for the many adult books included in the donation. But within weeks, we arranged for donated warehouse space from Junior Achievement, hosted student volunteers from Ensworth High School, scheduled book giveaways and provided more than 5,000 books to local nonprofits.
Q: What's your biggest goal for Book’em in the next year?
A: Our biggest goal always is to find effective ways to serve more children. We see a lot of opportunity in partnering with businesses that want to adopt a grade or a school to provide books and readers. We can only grow if we have readers willing to give their time in the classroom.
Q: How has Chamber membership benefited your company?
A: As an education nonprofit, we sometimes develop tunnel vision for the community we serve. It can be a very insular group. Membership in the Chamber gets us out of that "bubble." The events are energetic, informative and motivating and help us think about our organization and our future in fresh, new ways.