The Big Red Bookshelf
The Big Red Bookshelf is a community resource provided by United Way of Greater Duluth that allows children and families access to books at multiple locations around town. These brightly colored bookshelves are stocked with new or gently-used books for children from birth to 3rd grade which anyone who visits a shelf can take home, enjoy and keep. With 13 locations in the greater Duluth area, this project has distributed over 70,000 books since it began in 2008. With 54% of 3rd graders in ISD 709 lacking proficiency in reading, the Big Red Bookshelf is another opportunity for families to fill their homes with children’s books and read to their kids. In 2014, the Big Red Bookshelf has a goal of collecting 25,000 books to be used. Without the help of invaluable volunteers, such as this father/
Letting go of childhood memorabilia such as your favorite books can be a daunting endeavor, but for Brionna Roettger, the happiness a book can bring to someone else is
worth more than preserving relics of the past. Brionna and her father, Jeremy, decided to host a book drive to benefit United Way of Greater Duluth’s Big Red Bookshelf.
When the father daughter team found the Big Red Bookshelf book drive opportunity on the United Way website, they wasted no time organizing a system to make the community aware of their goals. Jeremy, a mechanic, placed flyers in clients’ cars and got back grocery bags full of books! “90% of the books we got were collected that way,” said Jeremy.
They even got a donation of 25 dollars, which they used to go and buy more books to add to the collection. “Some people actually bought books!” said Brionna.
In only one month, Brionna and Jeremy collected over 350 books! Thanks to this experience, Jeremy and Brionna caught a case of volunteer fever and have decided to volunteer at the ice rink on Park Point, where they will man the warming house for four hours on Sundays. The two expressed their favorite part of the book drive was simply helping other people. “I grew up reading these great books so why shouldn’t other kids be able to?” said Brionna. The power of a father and daughter is evident in the actions by these two generous book-drive volunteers and their open hearts.
If interested in hosting a book drive or contributing to the Big Red Bookshelf, call (218)-726-4729. Big Red Bookshelf Locations
• CHUM Family Shelter
• Safe Haven Shelter for Battered Women
• Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank
• St. Luke's Pediatric Associates Duluth WIC Duluth Grill Family Restaurant
• Rathke Bachuber Children's Emergency Department at Essentia Health
• Lake Superior Community Health Center Dental Clinic
• Lake Superior Community Health Center Doctor's Office
• Proctor Area Community Center (PACC)
• Duluth Area Family YMCA
• Community Action Duluth
• Harrison Community Center
Book Donation Drop-off Sites
Bring your gently-used or new children’s books—appropriate for children ages birth to 3rd grade—to one of our drop-off locations:
• The Bookstore at Fitgers 600 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802
• Duluth Teachers Credit Union Downtown - 11 West 2nd St. Kenwood - 1358 West Arrowhead Road Miller Hill - 4433 Trinity Road
• Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union 30 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 4908 Miller Trunk Hwy. Hermantown, MN 55811
• Share Advantage Credit Union 2502 Maple Grove Rd Duluth, MN 55811 407 E 3rd St, Duluth, MN 55802 (Essentia Health Main Campus Lower Level)
• Shear Hair Magic Salon & Spa 4899 Miller Trunk Hwy Hermantown, MN 55810
• United Way of Greater Duluth 424 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 April 28-29 4:00pm-8:00pm