Three factors influence an academic library’s decision to interact with the community; a need expressed from the community, the mission of the library, and a response to a specific problem (Schneider 2003). Odum Library at Valdosta State University (VSU) developed Read Fest in response to a perceived need in the community and in support of the library’s mission. Historically, South Georgia has had a high illiteracy rate; according to the National Center for Education Statistics most recent (2003) estimates, an average 22% of residents in Lowndes County and its neighbors lack basic literacy skills. Read Fest is an opportunity for the academic library to promote literacy in the community. The library’s mission includes community outreach and Read Fest offers the chance to build a relationship with the citizens in our service area. (Hood interview). Read Fest emphasizes VSU’s mission to reach out to the community and provides an opportunity for students to volunteer and work with members of the community.

Publication Date

Fall 2012