The Woman’s Club of Murfreesboro is partnering with Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) to start the Reading Buddies Project.
The Reading Buddies Project, according to club member Rebecca Cross, “places children’s books in the hands of first responders who encounter children under the most stressful circumstances.” Aside from the obvious benefits, Cross adds that, “the ability to comfort a child with kind words coupled with books, engenders a lifetime relationship of finding solace and enjoyment in reading.”
The kickoff for the project will be Saturday, December 15 at the Barnes and Noble Book Fair located at The Avenue from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The book store has generously offered The Woman’s Club a percentage of sales from the entire day to jumpstart the funding of the program. All proceeds will be used to supply new books to be carried on MFRD’s frontline apparatus.
“We are excited to begin this new venture with one of our community partners,” said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. “We are known for handing out stuffed animals to children in stressful situations, but providing books to those children takes that to the next level.”
Cross said the continuing efforts of the club will ensure a “ready supply” of books for MFRD at all times.
Reading Buddies is only one example of Literacy Outreach projects established within the community by The Woman’s Club.
History of The Woman’s Club of Murfreesboro
The Woman’s Club of Murfreesboro began in 1887 with 12 ladies who possessed a love of reading and literacy. Each lady donated one book, and books were housed on the counters of a local drug store. By 1911, several members of the original reading group organized The Murfreesboro Library Association, and by 1916 had over 2,000 books and periodicals, moving its collection from location to location. The Library Association needed a permanent home for its collection, and the founding members of The Woman’s Club of Murfreesboro located its present home at 221 East College, raised the funds to purchase it, and purchased the building in 1916.
Books owned by the Library Association were moved to their new home in The Woman’s Club Library in 1916, and became the first public lending library in Rutherford County. The Woman’s Club Library operated the only public lending library from 1916 until 1948, when Linebaugh Public Library was formed.
The library at the Woman’s Club remains a viable library for members and others in the community needing access to its volumes of rare, first edition, and out of print books for resource and research availability. The Woman’s Club of Murfreesboro was incorporated in 1916; celebrated its 100th anniversary on July 22, 2016; and was designated as a 501(c)(3) Public Charity in 2016.
The Woman’s Club continues to offer community outreach programs involving literacy opportunities for some of the most underserved segments of our local community.