2014 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Presentation, Friday 12 September, Mexico City, Mexico
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Book Lovers-
I am proud to accept this award on behalf of The Children’s Book Bank. I am one of a group of individuals who founded the Book Bank seven years ago and I am currently its Executive Director. What a thrill it is for us to attend the 2014 IBBY Congress in beautiful Mexico City. Thank you to our hosts from IBBY Mexico!
The Book Bank collects and recycles gently used children’s books and gives them away to children living in low-income communities across the City of Toronto. We connect the supply of gently used children’s books with a demand for the same to ensure that all children can experience the joy and benefits of book ownership regardless of their family’s income. We do this through a storefront “book bank” which was the first of its kind in Canada.
The Book Bank is truly a community effort and I accept this award on behalf of the many individuals who have contributed their time, their experience, their books and their money to allow the Book Bank to develop and to thrive. This includes our brilliant staff, an exceptional roster of volunteers, including many retired teachers and librarians, thousands of children and families who have gone through their personal libraries and donated gently used children’s books that they no longer need and many individuals, companies and foundations that have financially supported our work.
We are hugely honored to receive the Asahi Reading Promotion Award. Thank you to IBBY for establishing this award and IBBY’s National Sections for nominating such diverse and interesting projects from around the world. We are grateful to IBBY Canada for nominating us for the award and to Merle Harris of IBBY Canada for putting together our nomination materials. We congratulate our fellow winner PRAESA and our fellow nominees and are truly humbled to be a part of such an extraordinary group of organizations dedicated to bringing books and reading to children around the world.
Thank you to Jury President Kiyoko Matsuoko and her Jury Panel for recognizing the Book Bank and for observing that our idea has the possibility to be expanded and replicated in many places. We hope that this award will indeed encourage “everyone” to consider opening a book bank in his or her community. And may everyone mean everyone!
And finally, a heartfelt thanks to the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper Company, for sponsoring this important award since its inception in 1986. Your support and generosity is so greatly appreciated by those of us working in this field. It is sometimes so very difficult to compete for resources and attention in this business and we are so lucky when an organization of your credibility and stature stands with us.
The Asahi Reading Promotion award is an extraordinary honour for the Book Bank. The international recognition and credibility associated with this award has benefitted the Book Bank greatly and I can assure you, that the $10,000 will be well used as continue in our mission to provide free books and literacy support to children living in low-income communities throughout Toronto.
Thank you again.
Children’s Book Bank