Kent District Library is pleased to award Christine Beachler and Early Bird Books with the 2023 Literacy Champion Awards. Beachler, a Media Center Specialist at Lowell Area Schools, received the individual award, and Early Bird Books received the organization award. They both received a cash prize, a crystal trophy and were honored guests at KDL’s Literary Libations Gala.
KDL offers the Literacy Champion Award for outstanding leadership and advocacy of literacy. The award goes to one individual and one organization who does or has done something exceptional to promote literacy. This year, KDL received 23 nominations, which were reviewed by its Board of Trustees and Leadership Team to select the winners.
For many years, Christine Beachler has provided a comfortable space for students to read and relax while at school. She has steadfastly advocated for the students’ right to read what they choose with parental involvement. She works hard to ensure that the library collection represents different cultures and viewpoints, so students can see themselves represented in the books.
“As a school librarian, I can’t think of higher praise than to be named a Literacy Champion,” Beachler said. “By building diverse literature collections, students have opportunities to learn, think critically, grow empathy and compassion, dream, explore the world, heal, reflect and see things through a variety of perspectives. Instilling the love of reading within our children is the cornerstone of our school library programs, and I will continue to strive to do just that with grace and kindness for every student.”
As an affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Early Bird Books helps deliver free books to young children in Kent County. The Imagination Library is responsible for selecting, sourcing and mailing books monthly to all enrolled children, while Early Bird Books is responsible for promoting the program locally, registering new children and paying for the wholesale cost of books and mailing within their designated coverage area. The goal is to increase early childhood literacy rates, foster a love of books and promote a culture of reading in the home.
Early Bird Books was founded by Kate Purvis in January, 2022. In one short year the organization has served 1,582 children in Kent County and has delivered over 12,500 books.
“We are grateful knowing that so many children have benefited from this program just by receiving free books in the mail, but we have a long road ahead of us,” said Purvis, President of Early Bird Books. “We have had so much interest from families who wish to have this program in their neighborhood, and Early Bird Books is committed to bringing the Imagination Library to our greater Kent County community. We know that this is a big dream, but we are here to dream big and give back to our community because that’s what Dolly would do.”
The Literacy Champion Awards were given out at KDL’s Literary Libations Gala on September 19. Public nominations for Literacy Champions are received throughout the year at kdl.org/literacychampion, with winners named in September.