October 24, 2005

SIUC launches 'A Book in Every Home' campaign

by Tom Woolf

book in home

Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (Oct. 24) launched its 11th annual "A Book in Every Home" campaign.

The goal of the drive is to collect enough books so each of the 433 children enrolled in seven area Head Start centers will receive at least one book to take home and call their own. Children ages 3-5 attend Head Start centers in Carbondale, Carterville, Johnston City, Marion and Murphysboro.

Nationally recognized for its success, the SIUC Head Start program – now in its 35th year – is one of only a few university-related Head Start organizations in the country. The program focuses on meeting the social, intellectual, emotional and physical needs of preschool children from low-income families.

Over the past 10 years, members of the SIUC community and community at large donated more than 25,000 books. Last year's drive collected enough books so that each Head Start child went home with three books. The goal this year is to collect at least 3,000 age-appropriate new and gently used books by Dec. 2.

Erika Lowery, wife of men's basketball coach Chris Lowery, is chairing this year's campaign. The couple has four children, ages 11, 5, 4 and 11 months, and appreciates the importance of reading with their children.

"Children enjoy being read to, and they enjoy being able to pick out their own books to read," she said. "This gets them interested in reading."

She also pointed out that books may be a luxury in many Head Start family homes.

"Some of the people may not be able to afford books for their children, and they may not want to ask for help," she said. "If someone offers the help, they will accept it. Many people have too much pride and even though they need the help, they won't ask for it."

In choosing a book for young children ages 3-5, please consider the following:

• Illustrations – Large, clear, colorful pictures that relate to the words.

• Text – The story should be easy to follow and understand.

• Design – The pages in the book should be uncluttered. The print should be large and legible.

• Language – Books written in both Spanish and English are acceptable.

Basketball fans can gain free admission to the Saluki women's and men's exhibition games at the Arena on Nov. 6 with the donation of a preschool book. The women's team tips off against St. Louis Goldstar at 2:05 p.m., while the men's team plays Missouri-St. Louis beginning at 5:05 p.m.

Drop boxes for the books are at the following campus locations:

  • Chancellor's office, Anthony Hall.
  • Law school library, Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.
  • Student Center Information Station, first floor.
  • Student Development Office, third floor, Student Center.
  • Student Health Services, Biemfohr Hall.
  • Woody Hall, bursar's payment area.
  • Colyer Hall.
  • Morris Library, circulation desk
  • Coach Lowery's office, Lingle Hall, adjacent to the SIU Arena.

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

For more information on the book drive, contact Student Development's Saluki Volunteer Corps at 618/453-5714.

(Caption: Story time – Erika Lowery, honorary chair of this year’s Book in Every Home campaign, reads to youngsters enrolled in the Carbondale Head Start center. Organizers hope to collect 3,000 books appropriate for children ages 3-5 during the 11th annual drive.)

Photo by Russell Bailey