The role of the media will be very important in the success of your project. The workhorse will be your local newspaper since it is the voice of the community. Here in our community we have received tremendous support from our local daily newspaper, the Log Cabin Democrat*, and also from our local cable television channel and from all three nearby Little Rock television stations. Your first step will be to survey all the media outlets in your area, including radio stations and specialty magazines. All of these people are in the news and information business and are constantly on the lookout for good stories that will be of interest to their readers, listeners, and viewers. So in this sense, they stand to benefit from a literacy project, especially newspapers, since they are also impacted by illiteracy and must have literate people as present and future subscribers.
For this reason, it is important to have someone from the newspaper -- publisher, editor, or reporter -- as a member of your committee. If this is not possible, have someone on your committee with good writing skills to serve as a liaison with the media to ensure good and timely informational articles and stories. When you are ready to launch your project, to make the general public aware of the tremendous benefits, the newspaper can run a story, usually front page, to let members of your community know about the project and to kick off a “book drive” to collect gently used pre-school children’s books. We had a book drive back in 2005 and did not specify pre-school and received over six thousand volumes. Many books were advanced reading levels. We wound up giving three thousand volumes to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club so they were put to good use.
To coincide with the “book drive” article, you should have drop-off locations around your community, including your local newspaper, and have boxes with signs on them that say, “This box contains 'Gently Used' pre-school children’s books to be used in the (name of your project) for underprivileged children." The drop-off locations should also be publicized. After a few days, or within a couple of weeks, have a member of your committee with a pick-up truck check the boxes and bring the books to a pre-determined location for storage, and later sorting to go in the bookcases. Members of our local Retired School Teachers Association partnered with us to sort and classify the books before the ceremony when they were presented to the children and their parents.
To receive media coverage, in most cases, all you need to do is contact them and let them know what you are doing and give them details – time, location, date, etc. To add to earlier comments, you will probably have outstanding people on your committee who have friends and contacts at every media outlet in your area. Most people love to help, especially for such a worthy cause, and you will find more support for your project than you ever dreamed possible. Each article the newspaper, or other media outlets, carries should include this website address: www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. As your local people read and study about what you are doing for underprivileged children, they too will have a vision for your community and a better quality of life in the months and years to come. Illiteracy is generational.
* Many of these articles can be seen by clicking on the link – Resources