RTP’s Books on Break Gives Students Summer Reads


gingerkidsA few weeks ago in the Glenn Elementary School library, I stood in front of a sea of books that RTP companies had come together to donate. They had been neatly stacked over tables and chairs and the air was calm…too calm. Suddenly, the doors burst open and through them poured a hurricane of hairclips and Spider Man shirts; the third grade class had arrived. As books flew in every direction, the room began to light up with the excited smiles of 7-year-olds as books were claimed and backpacks were filled.

The purpose of the day was to help the children prevent summer reading loss, which can be defined as the lag in reading improvement that takes place in younger grade levels during the duration of the summer, mostly in houses where reading material is not readily available or encouraged. Although summer break usually surmounts to only 2-3 months, the cumulative impact of the loss in reading improvements adds up to 1.5 years between grades 1 through 6. As you can see, unfortunately all of those short summers begin to add up.

This achievement gap is what Book Harvest, based out of Chapel Hill, is trying to battle. Ginger Young, the founder and executive director, along with her devoted team, have taken it upon themselves to get books in as many tiny hands as possible. Since 2011, they have donated over 200,000 books to elementary aged children in the Triangle, targeting children in the free and reduced lunch programs.

glenn21Lucky for RTP, we get to participate in such a wonderful effort annually. This year, Park companies donated 3,500 books to Book Harvest through a Park-run book drive called Books on Break. With notable donations from NetApp, Fidelity Investments, RTI, BASF, Cisco, EPA, NISS, and the Research Triangle Foundation, we were able to help students of Durham Public Schools get copies of books such as Junie B. Jones, Dr. Seuss, and Magic School Bus.

Watching the kids’ smiling faces and excited hands empty the shelves so quickly reminded me that there is always a need for more donations. Even after the generosity of Park employees, there will always be more children craving books the next year. For information on future book drives in the Park or how to get involved, please email gingrich@rtp.org. Also, visit www.bookharvestnc.org for more information on Book Harvest and their mission.


RTP’s ‘Books On Break’ To Benefit Durham Students


The presence of books in a child’s home is said to be one of the biggest predictors of academic success. Unfortunately, less than half of America’s lower income children are without a single book in their home.

“Books on Break” is a program aimed to provide lower income children with reading material for the summer months when many experience “summer learning loss.”  The Research Triangle Park is joining together to try and help collect over 5,000 books for children in grades 1-6.  The books will range from picture books to short novels and both new and gently used books are accepted.  In the past this event has been a huge success, bringing together efforts from companies across RTP and helping to show what a philanthropic entity the park can be.  With combined efforts of companies and the surrounding community we have the ability to make a truly amazing difference in these children’s lives.

In 2012 the program collected over 4,000 books for children in the Durham County area. This year, we hope to exceed that.

There are several ways to donate books to the program: drop off at RTP headquarters (12 Davis Drive) in one of the drop off bins in our lobby, at one of the bins located at select RTP companies, or you can go online to Amazon.com and buy books from the wish list and they will be shipped directly to the drop off location (http://amzn.com/w/1HQGXBNUBPF0X ).

Over 100,000 books have been placed in deserving homes through our partner Book Harvest and all of the books collected will go to benefit children in Durham Public Schools. Whether it be donating one of your old Dr. Seuss books or helping to purchase a few new books online, anything helps and makes a significant difference to these young growing minds.

The program starts April 15 and will go through May 15, if you have any questions please email me at reed@rtp.org.

Give a Book. Change a Life.


Community Outreach@rtp will be running a book drive from April 19 to May 15, and we need your new and gently used children’s books!

Books in the home are the single biggest predictor of academic success – yet more than half of our country’s low-income children do not own a single book, setting them up to struggle in school and to perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

The books we collect will be donated to Books on Break, a program to enable Durham’s low-income children to select up to ten books to take home and keep at the end of the school year.  These books will help arrest the summer slide that plagues low-income children and that contributes to the achievement gap.

There are a few easy ways to participate:

  • Between now and May 15th, simply drop your book donations in the specially marked bins located at RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive (and at the Food Truck Rodeo on the 19th).  Your company may be hosting drop off bins as well.
  • If you don’t have gently used books at home to donate, please consider purchasing new books.  To make it even easier, buy books from Books on Break’s Amazon wish list and have them shipped directly to the RTP Headquarters:  http://amzn.com/w/1HQGXBNUBPF0X
    Stop by the Regulator Bookshop on Ninth Street in Durham and purchase a new book to donate to Books on Break; you’ll receive a 20% discount.

We need books for elementary school children (1st through 6th grade), from picture books to chapter books.  And we are grateful for both new books and gently used books that your kids may have outgrown.

Books on Break is a joint project of Community Outreach@rtp (a committee of the RTP Owners and Tenants Assocation), Book Harvest and Durham Public Schools.

To learn more, please visit www.bookharvestnc.org and www.rtp.org/community. And if you’d like to host a drop off location at your office, we have sign templates and flyers available at www.rtp.org/community.

Thank you for helping Triangle kids experience the joy of book ownership this summer!