Third Annual, 24-hour read-a-thon
Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy fundraiser
When: 5 p.m. today to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hall Book Exchange, 1854 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville
How much: Suggested donation of $10 per hour, per reader
Contact: Call 770-532-6693 to reserve a specific time slot or visit www.hallbookexchange.com for a schedule of activities
Today, reading will not only be fundamental, it will also serve as a fundraiser for the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy.
For the third year in a row, Hall Book Exchange owner Myra Meade will host a 24-hour read-a-thon at her Thompson Bridge Road bookstore.
"The illiteracy rate in Hall County is 29 percent. We want to do what we can to raise money for the alliance because they are working to lower that rate," Meade said.
"If folks can't read or write, industries won't come and that hurts our economy. Helping people learn how to read can help their self-esteem and it also helps keep folks off welfare. If they can't read, they can't work."
The 24-hour event starts at 5 p.m. today and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Readers just show up, sign in, contribute their donation and pick a comfy spot to read for a while.
"We're asking for a $10 donation per hour that each person reads, but we won't turn anything down," Meade said.
"We'll have free coffee and refreshments. Folks can read for as long as they'd like."
Various door prizes will be awarded throughout the event and grand prizes will be awarded to the two people who have the longest, continuous reading time.
Authors Reese Chrisitan, Alma Bowen, Jennie Miller-Helderman, Gerald Stokes, Robert G. Folsom and Janice Hardy will be making appearances throughout the read-a-thon to discuss and autograph their books.
All proceeds from their book sales will be donated to the literacy alliance.
There will also be something special for children - an interpretative bedtime story. At 7:30 p.m. today, Rachel Glazer will perform her dramatization of "Martina, The Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale" by children's author Carmen Agra Deedy.
"All of the kids get a goody bag. Story-time is a lot of fun, the kids always have a good time," Meade said.
"We ask for a donation from the kids for the bedtime story, but we don't request a specific amount. It can be a few pennies, whatever they want to give - anything going into the (donation) jar helps."
In 2008 there were 74 readers. Last year, there were 125 participants. This year Meade hopes to have at least 200 participants.
"Last year we raised around $2,500. We don't set a monetary goal because if the people are there, then the money will come," Meade said.
"It's just so great to see people reading a real book."