by Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director
This coming “hindsite is 20/20” year promises to be landmark one for BookSpring and for all the partners and families with children we serve. Wouldn’t it be great if we could know now what we’ll know in the future? Well, we can’t!
The best we can do is pay very close attention to what is happening in the now, and imagine what might happen from the choices we make today.
There is a reawakening about the importance of reading in our lives. People are thinking about slowing down and taking more time with each other to cherish the things that matter most. This sense of mindfulness and purpose has changed the way I look at the work of BookSpring, and I want to share some thoughts with you about it.
Now more than ever, BookSpring’s Ed, Rx, and Go programs are positioned to reach even further and deeper than we ever have. Our terrific program staff are continuing to support multi-site activities with Any Baby Can, Austin ISD, Carousel Pediatrics, Child Inc., CommUnityCare, Del Valle ISD, Hays County ISD, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Seton, Pflugerville ISD, Manor ISD, and San Marcos Consolidated ISD, among many others. Our program partners are what makes the impressive scope of BookSpring’s book distribution and motivational activity events possible. I’m particularly focused on making sure that we are doing this work with equity in mind. Because of this, we’re launching the Zip Code Project, to strategically reach out to the pockets of need we haven’t been able to reach before.
Our generous financial partners continue to provide many resources. This year, we will be supported by tens of thousands of books from Reading Is Fundamental, First Book, Half Price Books, and Literati. United Way of Greater Austin has included us as part of the Success by Six Coalition five year plan, as partners in making sure that at least 70% of families with children under 6 have at least 20 books at home by the year 2023. I’m honored and thrilled to hear that the idea of 20 books at home is starting to become part of discussions across our community. Even with BookSpring growing to our desired capacity of 3 books for every child living in poverty a year, it will take the whole community to reach the 20 books in every home goal.
Sharing books is an amazing way to communicate what is most important about life to the ones you care for. There is something about reflecting upon a quirky character, important life choice, or funny sentence that brings you closer together with someone. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, we make sense of the world through stories.
Over the summer, my son read Time and Again by Jack Finney, on a recommendation from my husband. I confess I have not read it, but the discussions we had about the nature of time travel, about what technology and progress are doing to the world, and our responsibilities to the people we love were so revealing. We ended up asking the question: If you could go back in time and change something, would you? We never came to definitive answer! But I learned how much my son is concerned about the environment, and some of his plans to make a difference with his life. All this sprung from an old, but well loved, science fiction book.
Words can bridge the gaps of time and understanding. Everyone in our community deserves the gift of developing a lifelong love of reading. If you share this belief, please share the story and mission of BookSpring with a friend in the coming year. And come share your time and resources with us in any way you choose.