From the same people who bring you (among various charity sites) the Hunger Site, which regular readers already know because I periodically bang the virtual drum, comes a site very close to my little literary heart: the Literacy Site. As with the Hunger Site all you have to do is click on the donate button once a day. It is free and clicking merely opens a window with small adverts (not pop-ups!) for the companies who sponsor the programme. You don’t have to click on the ads, but obviously it helps and I can honestly say I have picked up a few very nice and unusual gifts from them in the past. While the Hunger Site donations provide sustenance for the World Food Programme, the Literacy Site provides food for the brain and the imagination: it gives books to the poor.
I’m all for everyone being able to read (and not just because my living depends on it beign a bookseller but because reading and writing are among the highest accomplishements a human being may make. Reading and writing alter individuals, communities and entire civilisations. Reading rewires your brain and opens your eyes to the world) and am painfully aware that not everyone has equal access to books. I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to the library regularly since before I was old enough to go to school and who never tried to control or censor what I read; if I wanted to march into the adult section of the library and read something more challenging then they let me. Comics, magazines and books of every type, old and new. I can’t imagine the person I would be if I hadn’t been born a reader to parents who let me indulge in this. I doubt I would be writing this today. Without literacy we wouldn’t have the web or blogs so actually no-one would be reading this. Books are the key to a literate society as well as simply being the most marvellously enjoyable objects, so why not go and click now?