September 23, 2023

Pittsylvania County instructor Jennifer Williams, often called “The Guide Girl,” is on a mission to offer away a million books. She’s spreading the enjoyment of studying, whereas additionally creating an inclusive group devoted to fostering a love for literature.

“I by no means wished to be something apart from a instructor,” Jennifer Williams mentioned.

The Danville lady, higher often called the Guide Girl, got here from a household of educators, and he or she selected early on to comply with in these footsteps—particularly these of her mom, a instructor and librarian.

As Williams grew up, books grew to become life manuals, in a way. Her mom requested main questions concerning the characters Williams encountered, concerning the errors they made, and if her daughter would’ve dealt with the challenges otherwise. 

“She would cease and provides us these moments of, ‘Do you assume that was a very good plan?’” Williams mentioned.

Now, Williams—who herself grew to become an educator and taught full time for practically 30 years—is a lady on a mission impressed by her ardour for the written phrase. 

In 2017, the retired instructor collected practically 1,000 gently used or new books, which she gave away to youngsters within the Danville space over a single weekend. Slightly than have a good time a one-time win, the weekend giveaway sparked a good grander concept. In an effort to push her limits, religion, and work ethic, Williams got down to reward extra books—a million of them.

She set the a million ebook purpose in 2018. As of midday on Friday, Might 12, she’d simply given away 126,540 books. By Christmas, she hopes to offer away a grand whole of 150,000 books. To fulfill that benchmark, she’ll must move out greater than 23,000 titles in about seven months.

That accomplishment would go away her with solely 850,000 extra books to go. Solely

The Pleasure of Studying

To share updates about her journey, Williams—who now teaches studying and math part-time to college students at Chatham Elementary Faculty in Pittsylvania County—created a Fb group referred to as Pleasure of Studying. The web page at present has greater than 2,000 members. 

Past sharing information concerning the purpose, the Guide Girl’s Fb presence additionally fosters an interactive area for these invested within the journey. She famous her want to make the million ebook purpose a “we” expertise as an alternative of a “me” expertise. Due to that, those that comply with the web page typically see inclusive posts congratulating the group as a complete for surpassing a milestone, slightly than acknowledging Williams alone. 

Displaying everybody that they’re welcome to comply with alongside and participate aligns properly with the group identify, too. It’s not the “Happiness” of Studying, and that’s for a significant purpose. 

“I consider that pleasure and happiness aren’t the identical factor,” Williams mentioned. “Happiness comes from what’s taking place round you. Pleasure comes from within you.”

Cultivating that pleasure for the written phrase can assist in troublesome conditions. Along with giving books to youngsters, Williams additionally heads the Second Likelihood Guide Membership, designed for incarcerated people. 

Testimonies from the group included appreciation for serving to to move the time, gratitude for a renewed sense of creativeness, and curiosity in studying items of literature they may have neglected in any other case.  

“I inform the inmates that learn with me: ‘You could be anyplace—anyplace in time, anyplace in historical past, anyplace on the planet,’” when studying a ebook, Williams mentioned. 

Turn into a A part of the Million Guide Giveaway

Whereas Williams buys most of the books with cash from her personal pocket, she additionally accepts each bodily and financial donations. After a TODAY present look, for instance, Penguin Random Home donated 10,000 books to assist the Guide Girl attain her purpose.

“I haven’t purchased each single ebook, and I’m completely happy to share that recognition,” she mentioned. 

One strategy to attain Williams is thru her publish workplace field: Pleasure of Studying, PO Field 10907, Danville, VA, 24543.  

Whereas many publish workplace bins gained’t settle for packages, the one the Guide Girl makes use of presents that functionality—so folks can ship books on to her, if that’s their want. 

People can even ship monetary donations utilizing both the PO Field deal with or giving on to a GoFundMe account. In keeping with the web giving web page, the value of a mean ebook ranges from three to 5 {dollars}.

Williams additionally hits the highway when there’s a donation alternative. She accepts books which might be new or gently used. If titles are preowned, they have to be in good situation. A ebook in poor situation may ship the fallacious message to a toddler, she expressed. 

“[Individuals with book donations] can actually attain out to me, particularly this summer season,” Williams mentioned. “I’m completely happy to select them up.”

When she first got down to give away a million books in 2018, Williams anticipated to be 94 years previous when she reached the milestone. After a couple of years, her anticipated age dipped to 92. With the way in which issues are going now, she’s shaved a few extra years off of her unique estimate. 

“If I hold giving the identical quantity away as I’m now, I’m right down to a mean of 90,” Williams mentioned.

READ MORE: The Guide Girl Units Out to Ship One Million Tales to Native Youngsters