Drive nets more than 2,000 books for school
Meg Knister (from left), Kat Herron and Jennie Vasquez are three of the six Hinsdale Central Book Club members who collected more than 2,000 donated books during a book drive for a Chicago charter school that doesn't have a library. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 22, 2012 6:12AM
It was all about wanting to give others an opportunity that drove Meg Knister to initiate a book drive for a Chicago charter school without a library.
Knister had heard about the Uno Charter School from a friend of her mother. As an avid reader and member of the Hinsdale Central Book Club, it was difficult for the high school senior to fathom any school not having a library.
“It’s for financial reasons that they don’t have a library,” Knister said. “I just love to read and can’t imagine not having access to books. I want everyone to have that opportunity, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a book drive so we could get some books to give to the school.”
Knister received plenty of support for her idea of a book drive when she brought it to fellow book club members Jennie Vasquez, Kat Herron, Max Natanek, Danah Atassi and Andrew Mao. Faculty sponsor Jan Macleod also was on board with the idea.
“A book drive made sense to me because everyone should be able to read,” Knister said. “I thought if we let people know we were looking for books, we’d be able to get some donated to give to the school.”
Herron said she needed no convincing.
“I thought it was a brilliant idea,” Herron said. “To me, it’s really sad and disturbing to not have access to books. We wanted to at least try to help.”
And help they did.
A friend suggested placing flyers into mailboxes, something that was done at about 100 houses in Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale.
The flyers were simple and right to the point. “Do you have any books you don’t want anymore? We’ll take them” was the headline at the top of the one-age flyer. Knister wrote an introduction about herself on the flyer along with information about the Chicago charter school without a library and student access to only a few dozen books.
The wording on the flyer asked for donations of books to be left on the porches of those contributing or dropped off at Knister’s Clarendon Hills home. The time frame for the book drive was short: May 22-26.
“I didn’t really have a goal for the number of books,” Knister said. “I thought we’d maybe get in the 100s, but we started getting a lot of books; some people gave boxes of books.”
When it was over, the book drive had resulted in a collection of more than 2,000 books.
“It was great,” Knister said. “We weren’t expecting nearly that many books.”
As books were donated, they were packed into boxes, put into a couple of vehicles and driven June 8 to Uno Charter School.
“It was a great experience,” Knister said. “We might do it again. We got a call from the librarian at Clarendon Hills Middle School, who said they might have some books for us. I’m interested in anything we can do to give the opportunity to others to read.”