New literacy efforts find innovative ways to get books in the hands of readers: Vending machines

What’s happening: This past May, we brought you the story of Literacy Mid-South’s #ShareYourSkill901 movement, an effort to de-stigmatize low-literacy in adults by having people celebrate and value the skills they do have, no matter their level of literacy. Now the Memphis nonprofit has launched a pair of new programs that aim to improve the literacy skills of children and adults alike, adding to residents’ already present, already valuable skills.

It’s about resources: Literacy Mid-South launched their new Read901 campaign in mid-July. The program features an online portal with free child and adult tutoring resources, accessible to all. There are reading and math tools, and resources for citizenship and job readiness prep, improving financial and digital literacy, and more. There are literacy resources for those with learning disabilities, as well as those learning English as a second language.

Brain candy: In addition to the Read901 initiative, Literacy Mid-South has also launched a new program that immediately puts books into the hands of eager readers. Two new “Book Vending Machines” have been installed at Scenic Hills Elementary and For The Kingdom, where children and adults can access for free and at will. The book vending machines will eventually travel to new locations, and any updates can be found on the Read901 website.

Why it’s important: “Literacy affects everything in your life -- from schooling, to understanding an over-the-counter drug label, to filling out a job application,” says Sam O’Bryant, Executive Director of Literacy Mid-South and head of Read901. “We believe that everyone, regardless of your zip code, financial status, or background, deserves this investment in their future. Together, we can reach 100% literacy in the 901.”
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.