By Megan Alley,
Sun staff –
More than 600 brand new books were recently donated to Children’s Protective Services of Clermont County, all thanks to the generosity of the Clermont County Public Library and its staff and patrons.
The books were collected during a book drive held throughout the library’s 10 branches from Dec. 1 – 31, 2017. Library representatives delivered the books to the CPS offices on Jan. 17. The books will be distributed to the more than 300 children in CPS’ custody.
This is the third year for initiative, which is aptly named “New Year, New Book.” Tracey McCullough, programming manager for the library, helped oversee the donation. She adopted a foster child and explained the importance of the initiative.
“I know how important and meaningful it is for children to have books,” McCullough said. “Early literacy; having books helps them get ready to read.” She added, “It’s a nice escape, an outlet … just a few reasons.”
Sanna Gast, administrative supervisor III for CPS, oversees the book distribution. She explained that the case workers who work with the department’s teens will get the first go at the books. “They’ll pick the ones that they want for their teens that are on their case load,” she added.
Then, the remaining books will be shelved in the department’s two visit room areas, where kids will be free to look at them and take one when they come in for visits with their parents, or for counseling. “It’s comforting,” Gast said, adding that all the children get really excited when new books are brought out.
Afterwards, the remaining unclaimed books will be made available to all the other case workers, to see if they want them for the kids on their case load.
“And, whatever we have left, I will keep them and they will be distributed, say if someone has a birthday, or we’ll wait until Christmas next year,” Gast explained. “A lot of times, kids in foster care don’t have their very own books … just to have their very own brand new book means a lot.”
New this year, each book is marked with a label that reads, “This book was generously donated by a Clermont County Public Library patron.”
“We just wanted to make it clear that it’s our community members,” McCullough explained. “It connects them to the library too; the library is a great tool and resource as they age up and out of the system; we’re here as part of that safety net for them, and we can help assist them with a variety of things connecting them to community resources.”
She added, “We want to let them know that we’re all working together.”