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      Police, schools collect 500+ books

      A book drop in Richland County gathers over 500 books.

      Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter and Richland One Superintendent Dr. Percy Mack announced the results Thursday.

      It was an effort entered jointly by Richland School District One and Columbia City Police.

      "In Richland One, our focus has been to create a learning community," says Superintendent Mack, thanking Chief Carter and the Columbia Police Department for their efforts.

      The Readers Are Leaders So Book 'Em Now program collects new and lightly used books for students of Richland One to take home.

      "It's always wonderful for a child to be able to own their own library," explains Deputy Superintendent Dr. Debra Bathwaite.

      The piles of books will be issued just in time for the summer, allowing students to continue to read all through the year.

      While everyone's proud of the numbers, Chief Carter is quick to point out it's what parents and students do with the books that matters.

      "Sometimes we put the emphasis on collecting books, but we also want to encourage people to urge kids to read," Carter says.

      "There are cities across the country who determine how many jail cells to have based on the literacy rate of fourth and fifth graders," adds Bathwaite. "We wanted to stem that tide in Columbia, South Carolina."

      Dr. Mack encourages others to start book barrel programs of their own.

      "I know Chief Carter is quite competitive, and I know he would take on anyone who would like to bring in books like this as well," he says.

      And the drive is not over yet. Anyone wishing to donate a book has until May 28 to do so.

      Book drop barrels can be found at the following locations:

      690 Club Road - West Region1600 Bull Street - Metro Region2132 Devine Street - South Region3905 Ensor Avenue - North RegionCity Hall Main Lobby911 Communications/Fire StationMain Lobby at Water Customer ServiceGroucho's - 4717 Forest Drive