Unicoi Public Library receives 650 new books from Kids Need to Read’s ‘Grow Your Library’ program

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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National book giving program arrives in Erwin

MESA, Ariz. — Kids Need to Read (KNTR) will be arriving at the Unicoi Public Library with Grow Your Library, an inspiring library donation program led by KNTR Board Members Gary and Tina Mlodzik. Inspired by the Mlodzik’s shared love of reading, family, and public libraries, this program delivers free books and story time to local libraries and children during the couple’s travels.

According to Library Director Selena Harmon, the Unicoi Public Library budget has never included a line item for books/materials. Items are purchased with small allocations of Federal and State funds when available. At KNTR, we believe that having new and exciting books readily available for children to choose from encourages reading. To entice children and young adults to come to the library, KNTR is providing 650 new books to the Unicoi Public Library. The cover value of these new books is $8,800.

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As a retired elementary school Librarian, Tina Mlodzik stresses the importance of supporting public libraries, especially in communities where children may not own their own books. “Giving children access to a large quantity and varied selection of books has many benefits,” Tina explains. “The more books a child sees, the more motivated they are to read. Borrowing books from the library teaches sharing and builds respect for things that belong to others.”

On Wednesday, June 1, at 10:30 a.m. Grow Your Library will hold a special story time event at the Unicoi Public Library, 201 Nolichucky Avenue in Erwin, Tenn. Each child in attendance at story time will receive a free book and a Highlights magazine courtesy of KNTR. After the event, each child will have the opportunity to donate a book in their name on behalf of KNTR. This no-cost opportunity teaches the children to use their own love of reading to help the Unicoi Public Library earn even more free books in the future. The Unicoi Public Library proudly proclaims its slogan as “The little library with the big heart.” KNTR is happy to share some book love with this library, its patrons and its enthusiastic staff.

“I developed the Grow Your Library program to introduce a giving culture in the youth we meet at literacy events,” said Gary Mlodzik. “Putting a book in the hands of a child and allowing them to expand their horizons is magical. Allowing that child to make a small effort in order to share that magic for future generations is a priceless lesson. It is my hope that the children will be proud of the book donations made in their name and tell their friends, thereby further encouraging both literacy and philanthropy.”

When asked about the motive behind the project, Kids Need to Read Executive Director Jessica Payne stated, “A library is the heart of any community. Kids Need to Read’s Grow Your Library program not only invests in these indispensable bastions of literary treasure, it also encourages and connects the communities served by each library in order to inspire support for future generations. Children who participate in this program learn that they too can make a difference.”

This will be the 42nd community served by Grow Your Library since its inception in 2015. The Erwin, Tenn event will mark the 25th state in which Grow Your Library events have been held.