Charlotte Adult Learning Center’s Book Nook Getting a New Look

   Written by on March 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

Submitted by Jamie Ruff

book nookCHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE – Ask Joyce Nelson and she’ll tell you that things are happening in the Charlotte Adult Learning Center’s Book Nook.

Big things.

Like the nook is being reorganized.

Nelson is one of the volunteers going through the nook’s holdings, discarding the books that are too old, too worn, contains outdated information, has relevance issues, or was just never popular.

“They needed help (knowing) that the stuff they got rid of was the stuff to get rid of,” Nelson said. “I don’t want to put out things that are yellow and brittle – been around too long. I want them to appeal to the children.”

Nelson, who volunteers at the nook twice a week, said the weeding of the books “is likely to take more than a month.”

“This is taking a while because there is a lot to sort through,” she said. “The goal is to unpack those shelves. … We’ve been pulling, bagging and setting items on the giveaway shelves or bagging and disposing at the recycling center, and it is taking longer than expected.”

Some books remain available to students at the learning center to use in class or to take and read at home, she noted.

Nelson said she is “happy to assist with the culling of materials because the space is needed,” and is quick to note she is not the only one involved. “Dorothiea Price and Ann Pettus are hard at work too,” she said. “We take different days for this project.”

“I want to emphasize that I’ve only been volunteering for about a month while Dorothea Price has been involved for years.”

Donations to the library come from varied sources – the public library, Longwood University, and people’s book-of-the month holdings, and estates. Notes Nelson, “That’s where you really get some interesting books,” Nelson said.

Attention is being paid to the nook’s children’s section, which will be moved so that its holdings can be lowered so that it can be easily reached by its potential users.

Nelson is also spreading reading material throughout the country, offering some of the children’s books from the center’s nook to doctors’ offices, providing them to nursing homes “especially if it’s large print,” and generally putting them anywhere she thinks they might be picked up and read. She even provides them to prisons. It’s all part of an effort to plant the seeds of enjoying reading.

The Book Nook is among the learning center’s offerings, selling books cheap, and, in other cases, especially where children are concerned, just giving them away. Dinosaurs and pirates, of course, are particularly popular.

“If we get our hands on the ones and the parents say, ‘Our kids have read these,’ I’m happy to make sure they get to somebody else,” Nelson said.  “The important thing is not to just sell them and make money to buy paper and ink cartridges for the learning center; it’s to put reading materials in the hands of people who may not buy (books.)”

The learning center was founded in October of 1986 with the mission to help illiterate adults in Charlotte County learn to read. Since then, it has grown to include Southside Virginia Community College sponsored classes in pre-GED and GED, English as a second language, basic computer literacy, writing, money management, health literacy, and public speaking.

The center will launch a fundraiser in April.

Children’s books sold by the nook cost a quarter; hardcover books are listed at $2, and paperback $1, but Nelson notes those prices might be going down. Occasionally, bags of books are sold for $1.

“It’s a nice little place,” Nelson said.

Right now, though, it’s a little stuffed from years of accumulation. Thus, the purge.

Said fellow nook volunteer Price, “We’re going to clean them out and start all over.”

For additional information feel free to contact Lonnie Calhoun III at or by telephone at 434-542-5782.

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