By Melody Simpson
PLEASE! On Saturday, Oct. 8, go to your local Books-A-Million store in West Virginia and buy some books! (Or toys, tech, or more, to borrow from their logo, although we strongly lean toward books.) And when asked if you would like the store to donate a percentage of your purchase to Read Aloud, say “YES!”
Last year, Raleigh County Read Aloud connected with its local Books-A-Million store for a book fair in support of Read Aloud West Virginia. The event was the brainchild of Anne-Marie Johnson, the store’s general manager and a Raleigh County Read Aloud board member. Believing that BAM and Read Aloud were a “perfect fit,” Johnson hoped to expand her local effort into an ongoing, statewide partnership.
That partnership is blossoming. Ed Reidy, regional manager for Books-A-Million, agreed to have all BAM stores in his region host an event for Read Aloud (with participation from the Martinsburg store, thanks to manager Scott Brown). Between 10 and 20 percent of each designated purchase will be donated by BAM to Read Aloud West Virginia. Local Read Aloud chapters will have volunteers at store locations during the full-day event, with information about Read Aloud and its programs.
“An event like this is a complete win-win for Books-A-Million and Read Aloud,” Reidy noted. “Both of us want a literate, book-loving citizenry, and this is a great way for us to reach out to customers and a local philanthropic organization in our community.” Reidy hopes this is only the first in what becomes a regular statewide fundraising event for Read Aloud in BAM stores.
So bring your children, your grandchildren, your neighbor’s kids, the soccer team after the game—heck, bring your inner child!—and browse the shelves at your local Books-A-Million. You’ll be happy, your local Books-A-Million store will be happy, and Read Aloud West Virginia will be happy—and very grateful for your support.
Anne-Marie Johnson should be pretty happy, too….
Melody Simpson is an attorney at Bowles Rice LLP, a volunteer reader and member of the Read Aloud board and newsletter committee.