MCLC held its third council meeting of the year on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Brinkley Fox, Karen Gurley, Belinda Woody, Vivian Stevens, Billie Gurley, Stacey McEntyre-Greene, guest Julie Weatherman, and guest Jennifer Simpson
On the agenda:
Brinkley Fox gave introductory packets to our two guest attendees, Julie Weatherman and Jennifer Simpson, then opened the meeting by updating the council on the Phi Kappa Phi Hospital Project grant. Fox has been in contact with Teressa Neil of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital to gain support for a community outreach program which would provide literacy packets to send home with new parents. These packets would include picture books and literacy information to support child and family literacy activities from birth. As a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Fox was able to apply for a literacy grant which, if awarded, will provide funding to make this program a reality. Grant awards will be announced in early June.
Karen Gurley informed the council that Chip Smith, Distribution Director for the Asheville Citizen-Times, was able to donate twelve plastic paper racks that could be used for MCLC's Little Free Library projects. Belinda Woody gave an update on the Little Free Library she is sponsoring. Woody stated that her project is in the works and will be placed at the Micaville post office. Council members and guests discussed ideas for purchasing books for the libraries. Woody suggested that LFL stewards use a "Not for Sale" stamp in all library books to help protect purchased books. Guest Jennifer Simpson informed the council of the AMY Wee Trade children's consignment sale coming up in April and said that this might be one way to get a good bargain on used books.
Billie Gurley had compiled some statistics on crime and literacy which were shared with the council. Council members discussed inviting one or more members of local law enforcement to the next meeting to discuss ways in which MCLC and law enforcement might partner in light of these statistics. Gurley also shared several ideas she would like to present to law enforcement, including installing a Little Free Library in the visiting room of the county jail to encourage parent and child reading, books to keep in patrol cars which could be handed out to children during domestic calls, and providing books for students who participate in "Shop with a Cop" each Christmas season.
Karen Gurley updated the council on the "developing council" status through the North Carolina Reading Association. NCRA State Coordinator Danna Grimes had been in contact with Gurley, and had committed to sending information needed to establish MCLC as an affiliated chapter of NCRA.
Gurley also informed the council that she was pursuing a partnership with the low-income housing sites at Woodland Apartments in Burnsville and Cane Creek Village in Bakersville. These partnerships would bring read-aloud programs to the children living in the apartments and, if funding is secured, would provide books for children to take home. These sites may also be future Little Free Library sites as well. With this commitment to serve low-income families, MCLC was able to register with the First Book organization which provides free and very low-cost books for programs which specifically serve the low-income population. Boxes of books can be often be purchased through First Book for just the cost of shipping (usually $0.55 to $0.75 per book).
Brinkley Fox asked Julie Weatherman to share about the Lamplighters program in Mitchell County. Weatherman gave the council background information about how Lamplighters was formed and gave the council several ideas on how to pursue similar partnerships in Yancey County.
Jennifer Simpson also shared about her organization, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children. She also gave the council information about the upcoming Child Fest 2016 in Spruce Pine. MCLC was invited to participate.
The meeting was then opened up for ideas and feedback. Council members stated they would be interested in an e-newsletter for members. A version for the community would likely be included. Fox requested ideas for obtaining start-up money to cover printing and other expenses. Julie Weatherman suggested a Whoo's Reading fundraiser. The council also discussed the process for being recognized as a non-profit in order to accept tax-deductible donations from businesses and community members. Jennifer Simpson noted that, as a chapter of NCRA, the council may fall under the NCRA non-profit umbrella. Gurley stated that if the council had to apply for non-profit status on its own, assistance from an attorney would likely be necessary. Stacey McEntyre-Greene suggested a local attorney who might be interested in working with the council. It was also mentioned that the council would like to seek out a work space/office a little further in the future, once the council is more established. Obtaining a post office box for correspondence was also mentioned.
Council members set the next meeting date for Thursday, April 28 at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the community room of United Community Bank. At this point, the meeting was adjourned.