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“Nationals October 2019

Parole Rotary Ships Out 9,000,000th Book from B.I.G. Warehouse

| September 19, 2021, 10:07 AM

Scott Gregory, member of the B.I.G Board, loading some of the recent shipment of 20,000 books bound for Nigeria.

Books for International Goodwill (B.I.G.), the signature project of the Parole Rotary Club, just shipped its 9 millionth book. For more than 25 years B.I.G. has been collecting, sorting and sending new and used books to underserved areas of the world to keep the books alive, to fill developing libraries, to promote literacy, and to spread culture. On September 3, 2021, they shipped their 9 millionth book. That is enough books, if laid end to end, to stretch from Annapolis to Chicago and most of the way back. Nine million books would fill more than 300 20-foot ocean shipping containers.

The 9 millionth book is “Journeys” by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, an interactive instructional flip chart. It and 20,000 other books made up a 14,000-pound shipment to the Green Book Initiative in Nigeria.

Steve Frantzich, President of B.I.G, holding the 9 millionth book

B.I.G. was started by Leonard Blackshear, a member of the Parole Rotary Club, in 1995 as a means of improving literacy in developing countries and of disposing Anne Arundel County School textbooks that were being dumped in the local landfill. Today, B.I.G. receives over 1,000 donated books per day and operates with over 90 regular volunteers out of a warehouse at 451 Defense Highway in Annapolis. B.I.G. has grown to become the largest volume volunteer-based book distribution initiative in the world. It is incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, has its own Board of Directors, and the current President is Steve Frantzich, active member of the Parole Rotary Club and retired Professor of Political Science at the US Naval Academy.

The Arc of Central Maryland

Containers full of 15,000 to 20,000 books each depart about every 8 weeks from B.I.G. and have been sent to over 40 countries over the years – all free of charge. B.I.G. also supports domestic literacy projects, little free libraries, prison libraries and underserved populations throughout the United States.

For its efforts B.I.G. has won a number of awards which include a Points of Light citation, an Annie, a Rotary Outstanding Service award, and a Governor’s commendation.

Liquified Creative Annapolis

B.I.G. is financed by gifts, grants and local book sales. Interesting books not suitable for shipments of educational material are regularly offered for sale to local residents at the warehouse about every 6 weeks. Each sale generates between $12,000 and $15,000. Revenues from all sources are then used to pay for the outbound shipments. Book sales are held on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm, and are open to the public. The next two book sales will be held on September 18 and October 30. At each sale over 70,000 good used books are available for prices that range from 50 cents to $3. Book dealers look at these sales as gold mines.

For more information go to , call 410 757 2785, or email [email protected].

Category: Annapolis Gives, Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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