Students help to support Madison Reading Project

Emily Miles, Social Media Editor

What do you do with the old childhood books that you don’t need anymore? Give them to your niece or nephew? Donate them to Goodwill? Heaven forbid you to throw them away. How about donating them to the Madison Reading Project book collection? 

The Madison Reading Project Book Collection is a nonprofit organization that tries to get books into the hands of children around the Madison area. Last month, there were a series of donation bins around several Madison College locations where you could donate your old books. Books could be for children ranging in age from newborns all the way up to 12th grade.

The collection bins were at the main Truax campus in Student Life, the Protective Services Building, and the library. There were also bins at the library at Goodman South campus and at the lounge at the Commercial Avenue campus.

The Madison Reading Project loves to receive books with diverse characters and cultures, especially if they are in a different language like Spanish of Hmong.

Brianna Stapleton-Welch, the Volunteer Center advisor at Madison College, said that students are able to volunteer for this program. Volunteers can help by sorting through the books that are donated and stamping the books with the Madison Reading Project stamp.

On occasion, there are readings done at local community buildings that have activities going along with the book. The volunteers prepare these activities in advance. 

“The earlier you get books, the easier it is to understand reading in your future,” Stapelton-Welch said. Being able to understand and analyze books is a crucial part of education, she added.

To get these books in the hands of children, the Madison Reading Project has a bus called The Big Red Reading Bus. The current driver of the Big Red Reading Bus is Ricardo Isaías Marroquín Santos, a student at Madison College.

He would drive the bus a few times a week during the summer. Santos wanted to promote the Madison Reading Project and played a big part in bringing the book collection to campus.  

“I knew I wanted to get involved,” he said. “I knew that this would change the lives of people. Parents and kids.”

He loves driving the bus and the attention that the bus grabs from the public. Many people stop and smile as the bus drives past. Santos wants others to get involved, too. The program is constantly growing and always looking for new ideas. People can also donate and follow them on their website on how different ways they can get involved.

Stapleton-Welch encourages students to have the collection bins at their workplace or to have their student group participate. She also hopes to get students and their children involved with the Big Red Reading Bus and other public events.

There is more information about how to get collections bins on the Madison Reading Project website at