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Bookmans locations in Tucson donated more than 3,000 of the 6,000 books the company raised across Arizona during its summer-long reading event.

Thousands of people in Arizona took part in a summer-long reading event that, in return, gave nearly 6,000 books back into the community.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange introduced a Summer Reads stamp card initiative that promised customers a free book and a donation to a literacy nonprofit organization. From June 1 through Sept. 1, when customers collected nine stamps on their card by purchasing books, they received the tenth book free. In addition to the freebie, for every completed stamp card, one book was donated to a literacy nonprofit organization. 

In Tucson alone, around 3,000 stamp cards were redeemed at three Bookmans locations.

“That’s 3,000 people in Tucson who read at least 10 books this summer,” said Sean Feeney, president of Bookmans. “That speaks highly of the quality of our community and the passion that people still have for reading,” 

Feeney believes it is his company’s obligation to practice philanthropy, and while it is crucial to his business, he said it’s also important to acknowledge the large response they received from the summer-long reading event.

Each of the six Bookmans stores throughout Arizona had their own designated literacy non-profit to which the books were donated to. In Tucson, Bookmans eastside location alone collected 1,616 completed cards, meaning 1,616 books were directly donated to their designated organization, Literacy Connects.

At the northwest location, 3733 N. Ina Road, there were 655 books donated to the nonprofit beneficiary, Paws and Pages Literacy Program at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

At the midtown store, 3330 E. Speedway Blvd., 858 books were donated to Make Way For Books, an organization advocating to give children the chance to read and succeed from an early age.

The type of donated books depended on the needs of each individual charity, and Bookmans consulted with each beforehand to ensure the donations were properly suited. 

The donation will impact one of the many projects that Make Way For Books provides, The Blue Book House Project, where new and gently used books are placed inside a blue shelf around medical clinics, social services agencies and low-resourced communities for children to take and keep.

“At the dental clinic, the books are gone in less than a week,” said Make Way For Books CEO Jenny Volpe. “People are eagerly awaiting for the bookshelf to be restocked.”

According to Volpe, the nonprofit impacts around 30,000 children every year. Without partners like Bookmans, they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their mission to their fullest potential.

“We live in a place where children severely lack access to books,” Volpe said. “Our partners give us the opportunity to get more books in the hands of children.”

Make Way For Books accepts donations of all kinds, like new and gently used books, and volunteers who can use their time and talent to assist with programs, projects, and ideas. 

Whether or not the exact Bookmans reading event will occur again next summer is undecided, but they will strongly consider it, Feeney assured. 

Vianney Cardenas is a University of Arizona journalism student and Inside Tucson Business intern. 

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