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Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 12:12 am

Sharing the love of reading

Land of Lincoln Bookshare gets donated books into the hands of new readers

Litina Carnes, left, and Tiffany Roe.
Tiffany Roe and Litina Carnes looked at their collection of books that had outgrown their houses and started brainstorming ways to share their love of books. “We didn’t just want to donate them and have them resold. So we said, let’s find a way to give them to ones in need,” Tiffany explains. Litina adds, “We are paying it forward. There is just something special about owning a book.”

First, they started with Little Library, the small take one/leave one book boxes popping up in places around town, but felt they needed to do something on a larger scale.

Today they have formed the Land of Lincoln Bookshare, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. It is a way to spread the love of reading to those who may not be able to afford books or to groups working with people in need. Their website, https://Lolbookshare.com, states, “Our goal is to provide a place where the people of central Illinois can bring their donations, knowing that they will be provided free of charge to those who need or want them.”

Schools, nursing homes and groups working with children and families face budgetary constraints. “Many can’t afford to buy a book or even get a library card that is as much as $100 if one lives out of the district,” Litina says.

They accept most books – whether for adult or children – in good condition, though no encyclopedias or out of date books. Three local businesses accept donations for them: Springfield Vintage (215 S. Fifth), Daisy Jane’s (424 E. Monroe), and State Farm agent Derek Hensley (1200 W. Jefferson).

Tiffany and Litina do this work on top of full-time jobs. “We are lifelong book lovers,” says Tiffany. They have already provided bookbags to students, formed partnerships with various libraries and continue to reach out to many groups, spreading the word about their books. They hope to partner with many other groups.

They set up at various craft fairs. Litina says, “People look at us in shock when we say the book is free, and then they show such relief that they can actually get a book for themselves, their kids or grandkids.”

Books can be requested through their website and Facebook page. They offer help in starting an on-site little library (in a retirement home or school) or set up a table of free books at a business or other site based on needs arranged ahead of time.

They will be accepting books and giving away books at the Holiday Farmers Market 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Orr Building on the State Fairgrounds.

Cinda Klickna of Rochester is a former high school English teacher and loves books.

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