Club Series: BC Reads! Partners With Various Campus Organizations To Promote Literacy
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 23:09
Many students might be under the false assumption that BC Reads! is simply a book club, but this two-year-old club at Boston College combines a love of reading with the promotion of literacy through its book reviews and community outreach.
Chris Kabacinski, president of BC Reads! and A&S ’16, explained the goals of the club. “Our mission is to promote literacy in the Greater Boston area and for students to rediscover the pleasure of reading,” he said. “When it comes to literacy, it is more than reading and discussing, but also giving back.”
BC Reads! maintains a website at BCreads.weebly.com, where book reviews written by students are posted on a regular basis. Jennifer Heine, chief staff editor and A&S ’16, described the breakdown of the book review process. “We have a staff writer program where all our staff writers are responsible for three book reviews a semester. They have the freedom to write on whatever they want.” BC Reads! encourages any student on campus, as well as faculty, to send in book reviews, whether it is about a book that they really hated, a book published 100 years ago, or the newest hot release they couldn’t put down.
Many of the book reviews also come with student-drawn illustrations. “We reached out to the art department and talented students who would be interested in illustrations,” Heine said. “Students will pick out a review they find interesting or a book that they like and do an illustration to go along with it.”
Along with its online book reviews, BC Reads! produces a print version of its reviews each year. “At the end of the year we put out a publication, The Best of BC Reads!, which are the best books of the year,” Heine said.
The club is attempting to foster faculty interaction through student-faculty reading nights where both groups can present and read their creative works. “We are partnering up with Stylus and Laughing Medusa for a student-faculty reading night on Oct. 22 and are looking for any interested readers,” Kabacinski said.
BC Reads! also works with O’Neill Library through the Popular Reading Collection. “We give them input regarding what books to add to the collection and these books receive an ‘approved by BC Reads!’ sticker,” Kabacinski said.
Outreach at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, Mass. is one of the other integral components of BC Reads! “We go in three times a month to St. Columbkille’s 6th grade class,” Kabacinski said. “We present on anything that is culturally or historically relevant.” BC Reads! is extending its mission of literacy to beyond just reading books, by engaging intellectually on all grounds with young students.
At the end of every semester BC Reads! raises money for its literacy effort through a book drive on campus. The drive is run through Better World Books, a company that sells the books collected though its book drives and sends the money right back to clubs, like BC Reads!, that help organize these efforts. “Better World Books provide us with the boxes and shipping material,” Heine said. “We set up outside the Bookstore and get many of the books that students can’t sell back. The money we get from the book drive goes right back into the community.”
Fall semester of 2012, BC Reads! raised over $500. “With the Bookstore’s help we were able to buy over 300 books for the Linden School, a local charter school,” Kabacinski said. The Linden School had lost funding for its library department, so BC Reads! found it a perfect recipient for their fundraising. “It was so rewarding to go in there and see the teachers and kids and how appreciative everyone was,” Heine said. BC Reads! is currently in the process of deciding what to do with the $1,156 raised through the book drive in the spring semester of 2013.
BC Reads! made a lasting impact on Kabacinski, who explained why he became dedicated to this club. “After last year, I experienced all of the good that can come from this club. Giving back to the community is what made me stick around in this group.”
The group was created just last year, but BC Reads! is already filled with enthusiastic members, like the sophomore president and chief staff editor, ready to carry out the goals of the club.
“Right now we have a pretty young e-board. It is the people who got involved in the very beginning, but are really dedicated to this cause,” Heine said.