Here Come the Bookleggers!
Booklegger Director: Gail
of Our Favorite Books!
Just who are the Bookleggers? Ask any K-8 student in
Fremont about the volunteers who enter the Fremont Unified School District
classrooms and paint such intriguing descriptions of books that students
feel compelled to read them. The Bookleggers are a group
of volunteers dedicated to promoting independent reading by children.
They do this by visiting classrooms, and introducing books that kids simply
can't resist. Not just any books are used... these books that are chosen
by the Booklegger Steering Committee are the gems, the best of the best,
the well-written yet exciting adventures, suspenseful mysteries, hilarious
comedies and eye-popping non-fiction.
Booklegger volunteers literally come from all over the
globe, and from every background imaginable. They have in their ranks
a pizza maker, an accountant, several retired teachers, librarians, an
editor, a computer engineer, a dental hygienist, a BART engineer, an ex-KrazyGlue
salesperson, moms, dads and grandparents. All have in common a great love
of bringing books and children together.
Training sessions are held twice a year to introduce new volunteers
to booktalking, reading aloud, and storytelling skills. Upon completion
of the training, Bookleggers are ready to enter the Fremont Unified School
District classrooms to bring the joys of reading to children in kindergarten
through eighth grade. While training is held at the Fremont Main Library,
all branches in Fremont maintain special Booklegger collections
where children can check out or reserve the books they've just heard about.
The gift of the love of reading is such an important one. Overwhelming
statistics indicate that illiteracy is a great problem, not only in children
but also in adults. The surest cure to adult illiteracy is to instill
the love of books in the child, and that's where the Booklegger
Project can make a difference. Booklegger books
are checked out 3 times more frequently than those not booktalked - obviously
the message is getting through!
Children in Fremont have elevated Bookleggers to near
folk-heroine (and hero!) status, can point them out on the streets and
can recount their booktalks to friend and parents. For more information
about this award-winning program and to sign up for the next training
session, call the Fremont Main Library Children's Desk at 510/745-1421,
and ask for Gail Orwig (Booklegger Director) or Karen Pacheco (Fremont
Main Children's Services Supervisor). You may also e-mail
the Booklegger Program directly.