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UF makes ECCLS programs possible

Gerri Albritton, director of ECCLS, prepares books for mail Tuesday afternoon at the Atmore Public Library.|Photo by Lisa Tindell

Joseph Addison once said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Members of the staff at the Escambia County Cooperative Library System are dedicated to giving minds across the county the equipment to exercise their minds regularly.

Gerri Albritton, director of ECCLS, said the opportunity to provide reading materials for area residents is one she takes seriously.

“It’s nice to be able to provide books for children and adults across the county who may not be able to get to the local library,” Albritton said. “With some people out in rural areas of the county, getting to the library to check out a book may be difficult or even impossible.”

Albritton said the Books By Mail program is beneficial to a large number of patrons across the county.

“We have hundreds of children across the county who use the Books By Mail program during the summer,” Albritton said. “With the summer reading program we make it easy for children to get books to read while they are out of school.”

Albritton said postage and books for the Books By Mail program are made possible with the help of contributions to United Fund.

“The funds we receive from United Fund pays for the postage for the Books By Mail program,” Albritton said. “We also use those funds to purchase books for the program. Without United Fund contributions, we wouldn’t be able to provide as much as we do in this program.”

The program serves hundreds of children, but Albritton said adults can benefit as well.

“We have a number of large-print books available through the Books By Mail program too,” Albritton said. “That makes it possible for those who can’t see to drive to the library to get something to read. Some people may not know that we have that service available.”

As new books become available, ECCLS purchases them to make new material available to the readers who regularly use the program.

“We try to purchase new children’s books whenever we can,” Albritton said. “The United Fund contributions help make that possible.”

With general contributions and other funding down in recent years, Albritton said the United Fund contributions help to keep the program alive.

“We do get some funding from the State of Alabama and from the Escambia County Commission,” Albritton said. “With other contributions having gone down in recent years, every little bit helps to keep the program going. The United Fund contributions are very important to us and we certainly appreciate everything we receive from United Fund.”

Albritton said a catalog of choices is available to anyone interested in the Books By Mail program.

“We have a catalog that we send out to those who want to use the Books By Mail program,” Albritton said. “We fill their requests and mail the books back to them to read. Patrons are allowed to keep the book for a month with no late fees. We provide postage to get the books to them and for them to mail the books back to us. There is no cost at all for the patron to use this system and get a good book to read and enjoy.”

To learn more about the Escambia County Cooperative Library System and their Books By Mail program, contact Albritton at 368-4130 or visit the Atmore Public Library for more details.

To make a contribution to United Fund, contact any board member of the organization or ask your employer.