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Holiday Book Drive Exceeds the 12,000 Goal

The Statesman Journal
December 13, 2011


Officials estimate 23,000 books — and counting — have been donated during this year's Reading For All! Holiday Book Drive.

Volunteers still are counting books and expect more may come in, even though the push behind the 12,000 books in 12 days drive has wrapped. Tuesday's "unofficial tally" was 23,531 books.

"We keep getting calls, 'We've got books and we need to bring them over,' " said Alison Kelley, director of Marion County Children and Families Department.

A big success was the drive-through book drop off, held outside Salem Conference Center. Arturo Vargas, Marion County community coordinator, said 47 volunteers were able to collect 2,500 books in the drive-through.

"It's not just about the books," Vargas said.  "It's about the energy that we are sharing with the community about reading, and making reading a fun event, not just at local schools but as part of families."

Vargas said some collection bins from the more than 90 sites still needed to be collected. He predicted this year's total would dip from last year, when 34,179 books were gathered in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.

"There can be many factors," Vargas said. "The economy, and people are very stressed out about their situations.  Definitely that makes it difficult for the community to donate."

Vargas said he saw more new books being donated this year — the drive also accepts gently used children's books — a sign that people were keeping the book drive a priority.

Marion County Children and Families Department officials thanked the community for its support. Anonymous donors made large contributions, including one chunk of 10,000 books and a family that donated 800.