CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Employee-owners at Van Meter Inc. are putting their DIY skills to work building and stocking 30 lending libraries to advance literacy and promote community engagement in the 15 communities across the Midwest where they live and work.
“There is joy and power in sharing books,” said Alicia Murphy, Chief Organizational Effectiveness Officer and leadership liaison to Van Meter's Employee-Ownership Committee that spearheaded the community service project.
The libraries offer free, easy access to books for all people–children and adults. The concept is simple: take a book, return a book—when you can. Van Meter is working with local community centers, churches, fire stations and apartment complexes to install the libraries where they are needed most.
The National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, reports that children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage over children who are not. Additionally, the more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students are in reading proficiency.
“Reading is an invaluable skill that's important to just about every aspect of our daily lives,” added Murphy. “We're hopeful that a small effort on our part can lead to big potential for someone in our community.”