The final day of Reading Roundup

Hi everyone,

Two days ago marked the end of a campaign that began seventeen years ago. We called ourselves Reading Roundup. We formed to help Springfield Public Schools libraries improve their book collections to meet the highest standards set by the state. We were a small group of like minded members of the community who believed passionately in the necessity of placing quality books into the hands of students. We were always advised by numerous knowledgeable district folks: librarians, supervisors, administrators; but we operated as an independent, grass roots band of seven people or so: Terry Bond, Morey Mechlin, Rex Hansen, Renee Hunt, Jim Troye, Linda Fredrick, and me.

We met monthly for a long time and found all sorts of ways to bring our campaign to the public. The schools needed books! Our Springfield community agreed and we raised a lot of money. The school board pitched in by dramatically increasing its annual budget for books. From 2000-2007 the combined efforts of the district, Reading Roundup volunteers, and others added or replaced more than 190,000 library books costing more than $3.6 million.

When Reading Roundup reached its original goal, we shifted focus to meet specific needs of individual school libraries. Librarians throughout the district began submitting grant requests each year for money to make things better for their own population of students. From 2007-2017 Reading Roundup raised $150,000 to fund or partly fund 180 librarian requests that impacted on 50,000 Springfield Public Schools students.

It’s hard to sustain a fund raising campaign for seventeen years. Over the last few years our donations — the only source of our income — dried up. We could no longer continue and so this year we gave away the last of our money to fund grants, and took down our shingle. These pictures show most of our gang surprising librarians by showing up together on sort of a farewell tour. We loved it. It has been a privilege to work beside so many good people. I’d do it again. But for now, Reading Roundup exists no more.

Reading Roundup

Hi everyone,
David publicity photo
Our Reading Roundup committee met yesterday to select the winners of this year’s grant requests from Springfield Public Schools librarians. Renee Hunt, Rex Hansen, Terry Bond, and Morey Mechlin were there, as they have been all these years. I’ve never worked on a more stable committee. A few years ago we turned over the reins of Reading Roundup to the Foundation for SPS so Director Natalie Murdock officiated at the meeting.

As I’ve said before, sitting there reading grant requests gives us insights into the needs and ideas of librarians throughout the district, which is Missouri’s largest public school system. It has been a privilege to serve students in this capacity for the past sixteen years.

My thanks to all.


Reading Roundup

Hi everyone,

Yesterday the Reading Roundup committee met to decide which librarian grant requests we’ll fund for this coming school year. Reading Roundup began in 2000 as a community-based committee that wanted to help the Springfield Public School district raise all of its school libraries to the highest level mandated by the state. On the way to meeting the target, about 190,000 new books were added to the system, enough books to make an imaginary stack one mile high. Thanks to the dedication of the board of education and its administrators, 135,000 books were added by the district while the remaining 55,000 came from donations through other sources, including Reading Roundup. Of the 190,000 total, nearly 90,000 replaced worn and outdated books. Springfield’s public school libraries had never been better.

Since 2007 we’ve changed our mission to grant requests from librarians that are specific to their particular student body needs and can’t be funded through traditional district budget channels. Over the fifteen years since Reading Roundup began we’ve seen many changes in the needs of school libraries and the ways in which they serve students. Keeping up, in these digital times, is a challenge for all concerned. In 2013 we turned over the reins of Reading Roundup to the Foundation for Public Schools. I no longer chair the committee but nearly all of our original committee members remain on board as we continue to seek ways to be helpful to the students in our public schools.

Winners of this year’s round of grant funding will be announced next month by Natalie Murdock, executive director of the Foundation for Public Schools. We’re about to kick off the fund raising part of each year’s campaign to replenish our reserves for next year.

Reading Roundup Book Fair

Hi everyone,

For those of you close enough to attend, Reading Roundup is holding a book fair at Springfield’s Barnes & Noble, at the corner of Battlefield and Glenstone, on Saturday, August 23. Here’s the program.

Saturday, August 23rd
Barnes & Noble-Springfield, MO

11 am-Cookie, Mouse & Hometown Hero storytime
11:30 am-Noon-Byron Biggers Band
Noon-1 pm-Louie, from the Springfield Cardinals.
1 pm-3 pm-Author Linda Barboa will be signing: Stars in Her Eyes.
3 pm-5 pm-Author Steven Law will be signing Sonora.

Stop by the Café and order the “Book Worm”
Vanilla Bean crème based Frappuccino with special toppings.

This will be our second book fair of this year for Reading Roundup and we’re hoping for a good turnout of people who will shop at the store that day to support us. A percent of store sales on that day through August 28 will be donated to Reading Roundup and all the money we receive goes to fund grants requested by librarians in Springfield Public Schools to meet special needs of their students. FOR YOUR PURCHASES TO QUALIFY, YOU MUST TELL THE CHASHIER THAT YOU WANT TO SUPPORT READING ROUNDUP!! THIS APPLIES TO THE SNACK BAR TOO.

Bring your young Springfield Cardinals fans to the store on the 23rd to meet the team mascot Louie. Buy books by authors Linda Barboa and Steven Law so they can sign them for you. Listen to musical renditions of poems by Byron Biggers Band, which consists of Chris Craig, Gale Clithero, and me. Here are two links to our last performance at Barnes & Noble. Thanks to SPS Foundation Director Jana Bachus for recording and posting us on YouTube.

And by all means treat yourself to a Book Worm drink at the snack bar. It’s wonderful. I think I had two last time and bought one for someone else.

Please come if you can and tell others about the event. We’re working pretty hard to earn the funding!

Byron Biggers Band

Hi everyone,

Thanks (?) to Jana Bachus who, among other things, serves the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools as its Executive Director, the fabled Byron Biggers Band is now on YouTube!

During the Reading Roundup book fair at Barnes & Noble this past Saturday, Jana, who also serves as chair of Reading Roundup, took pictures of our group performing. If you think you’re strong enough, here’s the link. You’ve been warned. This is serious music!

A reminder that the book fair extends through May 1 and a percentage of store sales during the fair goes to support Reading Roundup’s goal of funding as many as possible of the grants submitted by our public school librarians to buy needed materials for their students.