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Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009 4:00 am | Updated: 12:50 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

Nov. 4, 2009

To the editor:

In 1966, one woman saw a need in her community. Margaret McNamara was a reading tutor and gave some used books to a few of her students. The students were surprised to receive the books and even more so when told they could keep the books. On Nov. 3, 1966, McNamara and a group of volunteers hosted the first free book distribution for a new program, Reading Is Fundamental.

Today, there are 25,000 RIF sites throughout the United States. Community support remains an important component of the RIF program. Many people and businesses give their time and share their talents to make each literacy event fun and rewarding for children and their families. If you are interested in helping a local Reading Is Fundamental program, please send an e-mail to rifinak@gmail.com. This holiday season, the Fairbanks branch of Barnes & Noble Booksellers is providing our community an opportunity to be a part of the RIF experience through two events. The RIF program at Arctic Light Elementary School is honoring veterans at a special book fair on Saturday at Barnes & Noble. All Interior Alaska RIF programs will be recipients of beautiful books purchased and donated by members of the community through Barnes & Noble’s annual holiday book drive.

After 43 years, “Reading Is Fundamental” still gives the gift of books, but now it is 16 million books to more than 4 million children. Some things haven’t changed though as children still ask, “Can I keep the book forever?” Thank you, Fairbanks for your support.

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