Guest Blog: Mariela Rodriguez, Communications Director for BookSpring

Mariela Rodriguez

Mariela Rodriguez

We truly LOVE working with Austin Allies! Our partnership with this group has helped us engage more people in our mission - building early literacy in children and families through healthcare, education, and the community. Families from Austin Allies are passionate and truly dedicated to making an impact on the community. From running book drives and assisting with literacy events to helping gift books to children and families, Austin Allies are helping us build a community of readers. Through partnerships with healthcare providers, educators, and other community leaders like Erika and Austin Allies, BookSpring reaches families where they are.

Linking children and their families to diverse books, languages, and cultures is vital. Children’s books can serve as mirrors so that young people can see themselves and their experiences reflected in stories. Books are also windows through which kids can learn about worlds outside of their own lives. Parents can use books as tools to teach their children about diversity, inclusion and life. Diverse books help build communication and empathy between families.

Currently in Central Texas, 58% of families with children under the age of 12 have fewer than 20 books at home. Research shows that having 20 books in the home can make a difference in a child's future academic success. (People interested in monetary contributions can donate directly to our 20 Books by 2020 initiative, where $0.80 cents of every dollar goes directly to program costs.)

We encourage the community to recycle their children’s books by donating them to our programs. We welcome infant board books, children’s picture books, and elementary chapter books. Books can be dropped off at our office located at 2006 Greenbrook Parkway in Austin. Monday- Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. A drop box is also available for after-hours donations. Be sure to fill out an In-Kind form located to the right of the dropbox.

BookSpring programs not only distribute books, but we aim to provide engaging, informative activities, including read-alouds, discussions, and play activities to inspire and motivate young readers. Prospective volunteers are invited to register and signup for our monthly orientation the third Tuesday of every month at 11:00 am or 6:00 pm. You can register here: Signup is here:

Volunteers are needed to assist with the essential function of sorting and bundling donated books, reading aloud and facilitating programs, and assisting with transporting books and other materials to program partners. People can also like, follow, and share our story on social media to help raise awareness about our work in the community.

Mariela oversees the BookSpring brand along with their public awareness campaigns and managing their social media. She also coordinates with organizations, schools, and corporate groups in the community to establish book drives that directly benefit children and families served through our programs.

Spectrum News recently highlighted BookSprings Rx program which works with pediatricians to prescribe books to families! Check out the story HERE.