Reading Rooster Helen Fellers has won the 2016 Friends of Richland Library Lucy Hampton
Bostick Award for her work advancing the interest in books and libraries.
From the Dean . . .
COCKY’S READING EXPRESS: IT TAKES A CROWD
I tagged along one Saturday morning last month as Cocky and his friends—our student
volunteers and SLIS staff — strolled down Main Street in Columbia. Soda City Market
draws a cross section of people in our community who are looking for food, fellowship
and fun. Cocky’s Reading Express™ fits right in, handing out high fives, hugs and
the nourishment of children’s books.
We had just launched our summer crowdfunding campaign for Cocky’s Reading Express, and our Columbia friends and neighbors chipped in $355.60 that morning. Crowdfunding
works that way. It aggregates dimes and dollars from dozens of donors, pardon the
alliteration, until a collective value is reached to support a cause or project.
Cocky’s Reading Express is our now 10-year-old project; children’s literacy is our
USC’s Office of Development asked us to kick off a new series of crowdfunding campaigns
for university programs. With the high visibility of Cocky’s Reading Express and
our continual needs, we were happy to do so. CRE has always been substantially funded
by gifts and grants.
You’d think it would be easy to do so, but it’s not. Crowdfunding is a bit like selling
door to door. One college summer I sold encyclopedias, ringing doorbells in small
Pennsylvania towns. That’s another story and, in my experience, a short one. I also
drove an ice cream truck. Much better received.
Crowdfunding has been around for some time. Think of symphony subscriptions, Girl
Scout cookies and even war bonds. But like many things, it’s increased exponentially
in the digital age. Billions are raised annually for causes and crises. Many times
it’s for victims of natural, man-made or medical tragedies.
We don’t offer tragic faces, but the hopeful ones of bright and engaged young minds
and the unflappable (did I say that) Cocky, mascot extraordinaire. (Beak flap.)
I’ve written before here about “summer slide.” It’s the real loss of capability among
young students who do not keep up their reading skills outside of school. They return
to school in the fall months behind those students who read through the summer. What
book’s in your backpack?
This summer, we are seeking $25,000 through the USC crowdfunding campaign. We’ll
buy new books and literacy kits, fuel the CRE bus and be able to visit areas of the
state we have not been able to serve before. Since June 30, we’ve received $14,028
and have 9 days remaining to reach and exceed our goal.