LOVELAND, Ohio -- Loveland twins Hannah and Alex Laman found a way to turn their love of reading into a way to give back to the community.
After reading articles about several schools in the Cincinnati area that don't have enough books for students or even a library, the pair decided to take matters into their own hands.
“We saw that there was a school that didn’t even have a library or staff and we wanted to donate books," Alex said.
From that passion to help the Adopt A Book initiative was conceived. The goal of the organization is to "foster a love of reading for children by distributing books to disadvantaged children," according to the Adopt A Book Facebook page.
While the twins' parents help, the organization is largely run, operated and fronted by Alex and Hannah, who've appeared at various book donation events across the Tri-State.
The books the 10-year-olds collect are donated to schools and about 30 organizations within the city of Cincinnati. Some of the organizations include Lighthouse Youth Services, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, various schools around the Greater Cincinnati area, and other youth and family service organizations.
Of course, the Laman twins haven't done it on their own. The students at staff at their school in Loveland held a book drive that collected more than 2,000 books.
In addition to holding their own book drives, Adopt A Book receives donations from various other organizations. Companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Luxottica have made donations. And an assortment of schools have held drives to gather books for the cause.
People interested in participating in the youth literacy outreach effort can donate books at a drop-off location on the east side of town.
Book donations are accepted at 1623 Burney Lane . The covered porch at the main entrance in the back of Bake Me Home's office is the perfect place to leave bagged/boxed books if no one is there to receive the books, according to the group's Facebook.
Angela Laman, the mother of the ambitious pair, says she couldn’t be more proud of what her children have accomplished.
“Since December of 2011 they've collected over 25,000 books and donated them throughout the city of Cincinnati and other areas as far as even Zimbabwe.”
Adopt A Book isn’t the only project the fifth-graders have started. Their latest venture is something they call the “Little Free Library.”
Located in the heart of Loveland along a quiet bike path, the free library is frequented by locals who can pick out one of the books housed in a cabinet constructed of recycled materials.
“We put books in there and people can take books and read them and then put them back or keep them and put other books in,” Alex said.
The system works completely on the honesty system. According to Alex, the Loveland community had a bit of a hard time grasping the concept at first but now has it down to a science.
Angela says having the organization and the library not only teaches her children responsibility but brings their family together.
So what’s next for the Lamans?
All three expressed the need to find a storage facility for all the books they've collected.
“The kids joke that we have a one car garage now because of all of the books taking up the spot for the other car,” Angela said.
If you want to help, you can contact the group via their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Adoptabookohio