Our Towns

Land Bank, Rotary Get 3,600 Books for Mini Libraries

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Mahoning County Land Bank and the Rotary Club of Youngstown report their recent book drive brought in 3,638 books that will enable them to replenish mini libraries in Youngstown and Campbell and support six new libraries in 2019.

The new and used books were donated last month at Rulli Brothers stores in Austintown and Boardman and at St. Christine Elementary School and Campbell Memorial High School. The self-serve libraries, established with the support of Little Free Libraries, a national nonprofit organization, make books available in residential areas where the land bank has coordinated demolitions or other improvements.

“We had no idea how the community would react to our book drive, so we’re blown away by the support we received,” said Debora Flora, executive director of the Land Bank. “We’re especially grateful for one young woman, Taylor Barber, who took it upon herself to get involved and take the drive beyond what we ever expected.”

More than 40% of the donations were the result of efforts by Barber, a senior at Springfield Local High School. After reading an article about the book drive, she arranged for her school to be added as a drop-off site and 1,583 were donated there either directly or through a collection box she set up on her front porch.

Barber is the former president of a book club at the school and told the land bank she wanted to share her love of books with others. She promoted the drive with flyers she created and through social media.

“Taylor’s efforts really took our book drive to a higher level,” said Flora. “We appreciate what she did for the land bank and for the example she set for supporting literacy and community involvement.

Elayne Bozick, a member of the Youngstown Rotary Club and lead contact for the book-sharing project, added, “We’re glad to see that so many people saw the need and chose to support our effort to extend access to free books to individuals of all ages. These donations will help us re-stock little free libraries that create gathering places for children and adults to share their favorite books.”

The Mahoning County Land Bank is a nonprofit community improvement corporation dedicated to acquiring vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent properties and making them productive again.

The Rotary Club of Youngstown meets Wednesdays at noon at the Central Branch YMCA . Go to www.youngstownrotary.org if you are interested in knowing more or becoming a member. If you are interested in joining the community-share literacy project, contact Bozick at 330 360 3799 or emsborzick@gmail.com.

Pictured at top: Taylor Barber, a senior at Springfield Local High School and Elayne Bozick, chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Youngstown’s Little Free Library Committee, stand in front of the 1,583 books Taylor collected in support of the book drive by Mahoning County Land Bank and Rotary Club of Youngstown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.