Book drive to support literacy in honor of Cynthia Graham Hurd

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Live 5 News is teaming up with the Charleston County Library system, Reading Partners and the family of Cynthia Graham Hurd for a book drive in her honor.

Hurd worked for the Charleston County Public Library system for more than 30 years – and this is a way to continue her legacy.

Hurd's family says the library was her safe haven – a reason they are doing a book drive again this year.

All books donated will go to students in the Reading Partners program.

"The students go with their volunteer over to the bookcase and they a choose a book that they get to keep at home forever. So the community's donations are really building that at-home library," said Katie Qualls, program director for Reading Partners.

The program focuses on students K-5th grade.  They tutored more than 800 students this year in Charleston County.

The program has grown from just being in Charleston County to being in Charleston, Berkeley and Florence counties.

They're adding tons of new schools and they're making sure they are getting more kids in more schools every year.

As they get more volunteers, they can get more students.  About 80 percent of kids are below grade level in the schools the program is in.

But officials say this year, from the K-2nd students, 98 percent were meeting their goals by the end of this past school year.

A volunteer with the program, Mindy Sturm, said it's been incredible to watch the student she's been tutoring grow on many fronts.

"I've seen him grow in reading and certainly through his test scores. Equally notably – he has grown in his confidence as a person and as a reader," Sturm added.

Your donations help these students succeed.

"Research shows that having access to go quality books – it makes all the difference in the world," Quall added.

A month-long book drive in July to collect new and gently used children's books in Charleston area communities for distribution through the Reading Partners' network of tutors working in local schools with students needing to improve their literacy and reading levels.

The books will help the students build a love for reading by having their own at-home libraries.

"Reading Partners supplements in-school tutoring with a 'take reading home' component, which the book drive will directly impact. Each student enrolled in Reading Partners brings home more than 30 books per year," said Reading Partners Board Chairman Richard Star. "This is a practice that will further foster a love of reading in students, their siblings, and the rest of the family."


The entire month of July 2017.
HOW (to get involved):

Donate, donate, donate! Residents are urged to d rop off new or gently used children's books for students in kindergarten through fifth grade at six Charleston County Public Library locations.

Drop off points are located at six Charleston County Public Library's branch libraries:

Dorchester Road Regional Library – 6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, 843-552-6466

Hurd/St. Andrews Regional Library – 1735 N. Woodmere Drive, Charleston, 843-766-2546

John's Island Regional Library – 3531 Maybank Highway, John's Island, 843-559-1945

Main Library – 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, 843-805-6930

Mt. Pleasant Regional Library – 1133 Mathis Ferry Road, Mt. Pleasant, 843-849-6161

Otranto Road Regional Library – 2261 Otranto Road, North Charleston, 843-572-4094

Drop off points at four Mellow Mushroom locations:

Mellow Mushroom North Charleston - 4855 Tanger Outlet Blvd., North Charleston

Mellow Mushroom Summerville - 1306 North Main St., Summerville

Mellow Mushroom West Ashley - 19 Magnolia Rd., Charleston

Mellow Mushroom Charleston - 309 King St., Charleston

About the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation:

Cynthia Graham Hurd was one of the Mother Emanuel Nine – the church members killed during a prayer service in June 2015. Cynthia was also a lifelong Charleston resident and 31-year librarian with Charleston County Public Library. The Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for Literacy and Civic Engagement was established to continue Cynthia's work and legacy of engaging the community through her love and appreciation for reading. As a librarian, Cynthia stirred a passion for reading across generations and literary genres. The Foundation works the way Cynthia lived her life by advocating for the expansion of literacy and availability of books to everyone.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. Thanks to the dedication of more than 14,000 volunteer tutors in Charleston, Charlotte and across the nation, the national non-profit Reading Partners organization provides one-on-one tutoring to more than 10,000 students to help bring them up to their reading level – making an important shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Reading Partners has a proven track record of success. For more information, visit
The book drive is being held in partnership with Charleston County Public Library, Live5 News, Wells Fargo and Mellow Mushroom.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.