Book by book

By on January 3, 2013

Photo: The Elburn Lions Club recently implemented a Reading Action Campaign program to promote
literacy in the Kaneland community. Here, Dr. Sarah Mumm, director of Educational Services K-5 in the Kaneland District, shows off a handful of books intended for distribution to children in the community. Photo by Elizabeth Rago

Elburn Lions Club rallies to bridge gaps in literacy
by Elizabeth Rago
ELBURN—Immersed in communities since 1917, the Lions Club International Foundation is the world’s largest community service organization with an emphasis on supporting the blind and visually impaired. Most recently, the Foundation challenged members to join in on the fight against illiteracy in their communities.

Through the help of local service organizations, school districts and area libraries, the Elburn chapter of the Lions Club is diving headfirst into implementing a Reading Action Campaign program for the Kaneland community.

“Our goal is to get books into the hands of kids who do not have the resources to obtain them,” said Joe Kryszak, Elburn Lion’s Club representative.

But how does one obtain and start distributing books to local children? Who should receive the books? What kind of literature should be purchased for a particular age and gender?

To provide answers to these questions, a planning committee was built of volunteers, community agencies, educators and school administrators.

“We needed experts, so we naturally reached out to leaders and organizations who daily interact with children in the Kaneland community,” Kryszak said.

Without reluctance, Maple Park’s Family Fund in Maple Park, Conley Outreach Community Services in Elburn and Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove agreed to serve as the first three sources for needy recipients. Each community outreach program gathered an anonymous list of local children grouped by gender and age.

After the list of recipients was gathered, the Elburn Lions went straight to the masters of pairing literature and children: local library directors.

“We are always happy to help with any literacy projects,” said Lynn Alms, director of Elburn’s Town and Country Public Library. “A library is a natural partner for any type of effort involving reading and literacy. The distribution planned by the Lions involving several area groups will help books reach a wide audience in the area.”

Young adult books like “Theodore Boone” by John Grisham and “The Case of the Mistaken Identity” by Mac Barnett were among the books distributed to help bridge the gap in literacy.

“We hope this will help children develop a life-long love of reading,” Kryszak and Alms both said of the Lions’ Reading Action program.

For more information about supporting the Reading Action Campaign Program, visit, call (630) 365-6315 or email