adult literacy rates, books, e-book reader, e-reader app, ebook, ebooks, free e-books, importance of literacy, Indianapolis, Indy Reads, Kbuuk, literacy centers, literacy in the US, literacy strategies, non-profit literacy organizations, online publishing, publishing, Reading, self-publishing, writing
Today’s post comes to us from Rebecca ‘Bek’ Ramirez. Bek is a Visual Communications major living in Indianapolis, Indiana who has previously published works in her high school literary magazine. As we mentioned, we wanted to get a taste for the literary flavor of different cities around the U.S., so today Bek shares with us an interesting perspective on the changing face of the independent bookstore as she’s experienced firsthand in her city, and what Indy Reads is doing to promote literacy in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis, Indiana—home of the Colts and Indy 500. We aren’t known for much else, though hosting the 2012 Super Bowl in February helped put us on the map. Indianapolis is a sports town, we love basketball and football; we have more sports bars downtown than we do restaurants. It’s easy to find good beer and a place to watch the game but finding a place to read a good book is not. And for 1 in 5 adults in central Indiana, being able to read is a scarce ability.
Independent bookstores are an endangered species and do not survive very long in the sportive terrain of Indianapolis. Elizabeth Houghton Barden is the owner of Big Hat Books, the only bookstore in the Broad Ripple district and the last traditional bookstore left in the city. Barden is not the only one fighting or losing for that matter. Borders took a nose dive last year closing a massive amount of stores across the country, including the one in the center of downtown. Barnes & Noble followed suit in closing some of its stores and retreated further out in the state.
However, a new bookstore stepped into town and decided to make a stand in Mass Ave, the popular arts and culture district in the Indianapolis downtown area. It is dubbed Indy Reads Books, an independent bookstore that opened its doors July 12th of this year. Indy Reads Books has worked quickly to get the community’s attention to the point where NUVO magazine nominated them as the “Best Place to Volunteer”. They host several author signing events and workshops as well.
Take note that Indy Reads Books is not your usual bookstore, their entire revenue is used to aid illiterate adults learn how to read. Indy Reads Books relies on donations from the community to circulate more books into their inventory. You can buy gently used and new books at a great discount knowing that the proceeds are going to a good cause. The bookstore encourages you to return the books to the store so they can be sold again. About 50 volunteers help run the bookstore and are more than happy to be part of the cause.
Indy Reads Bookstore is a product of the not-for-profit group Indy Reads, a literacy organization centered in Indiana. Indy Reads was founded in 1984 by librarians and is honorably the only organization in Indianapolis accredited by ProLiteracy Worldwide. They receive no government funding; contributions are made through donors, grants, corporations and their beloved bookstore Indy Reads Books.
Their task is simple and that is to “make Indianapolis 100% literate”. They believe everyone should have the chance to learn how to read and write and they work diligently so to reach those adults who haven’t. Indy Reads provide trained volunteers to tutor illiterate and semi-illiterate adults who read at or below the sixth grade lever. They reach over 1,000 students a year helping them to become more independent. One by one, Indy Reads persists to make a difference.
- Bek Ramirez
We at Kbuuk know how important literacy is to the community. Literacy helps to advance society. When people can read, they can learn and grow. To promote literacy, is to promote a community and a culture with a bright and productive future. Just as Indy Reads Books is a champion for literacy in the Indianapolis area, helping to build up their local community, Kbuuk offers a platform for readers and writers to share ideas and to promote their works independent of gatekeepers who would turn a work away based on the bottom line for the publisher, rather than the pursuit of sharing an idea or story that’s been hidden away from the world. Both of our stories of just a taste of the literary renaissance that’s just beginning. If you’re ready to share your work with the world or looking to find great reads from independent authors then sign up for your Kbuuk account today.
If you would like to write a post about how literature influences your city, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you to find out what your city is doing.