IntlLiteracyDay2015Yep, we missed it.

Tuesday, September 8, was International Literacy Day, but we’ve been so hard at work on Bas Bleu’s upcoming Holiday catalog that the occasion just whizzed right by. We felt guilty at first, but then we thought about it: Why should there only be one day “officially” devoted to advancing the cause of literacy around the world? That’s a cause worth fighting for 365 days a year!

Literacy is the greatest superpower known to man. It is so much more than the ability to pass a high-school English class or to lose yourself in a good book at the end of a long day. Good literacy skills are essential for filling out a job application, qualifying for a driver’s license, deciphering a prescription label, examining a lease or contract, reading a recipe…pretty much all of those seemingly mundane activities that become obstacles for someone who struggles to read.

As bluestockings, we know you lead by example: patronizing libraries and booksellers, participating in book clubs, reading to your kids and grandkids, and more. But if you’re looking for a few more ideas for how you can do your part to help boost literacy rates and foster the love of books in others, we have a few suggestions for where you can donate…

…Your time: Volunteer to staff a library book sale, read to kids, sign up to mentor a school-age child, teach adults to read… If you’re not sure where to start, check with your local library or a Reading is Fundamental affiliate in your community for opportunities.

…Your gently used books: So many organizations accept donated books, including libraries, thrift stores, hospitals, prisons, Little Free Libraries, after-school programs, homeless shelters, and more. Needs vary by city, so ask around to figure out who could use the books you’re clearing off your shelves. Yes, you may need to pack a few boxes and make a few deliveries, but your efforts could mean the world to someone.

…Your money: Non-profits dedicated to education and literacy rarely have enough resources to do all the work that needs doing. Conduct a little research, then select a group who can put your monetary donation to good use. Back in February, we told you about five book-based organizations working hard for a good cause, but there are so many more around the world…and likely in your own community!