Senior starts program to keep reading alive

Maranda Shrewsberry

Videotapes and cassettes may have fallen to the wayside, but Brandon Proctor is here to make sure the same does not happen to the written word.

Proctor, senior integrated social studies major, started Books Forever, an official nonprofit corporation as of Jan. 24.

Books Forever was created to propel education through learning centers all around the world with a focus on literacy, Proctor said.

“I want paper-based books to be around for current and future generations to enjoy whenever they see fit,” he said.

Electronic versions of books, like the Kindle, complicate the process of reading, Proctor said. They require Internet and electricity, which could leave certain areas of America in the dark.

“Internet is not a necessity,” Proctor said. “When you barely have enough food to feed your kids with, you aren’t going to have Internet in your house.”

Proctor said to prove his dedication, he collected over 1,000 books before the program became an official nonprofit organization. He said the next step is getting the tax-exempt status from the IRS so he can ask for grants and monetary donations.

“Once you tell people that you want to collect books and open a center so kids and everybody can come to learn, I found that so many people want to help with that process,” Proctor said.

One of Proctor’s main helpers and a member of his board is his mother Wanda Whitmore, administrative associate to the president at Cuyahoga Community College. She said she could see Proctor’s passion for books and learning when he was a child.

“He would read encyclopedias cover to cover,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore said she gives her son books every holiday he returns home. She also houses many of Proctor’s books and asks people to donate more.

“He has books all over the place,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore said her son’s enthusiasm is catching on.

“You hear the excitement from him, and you can’t help but feel it,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore said she has faith in Proctor and his mission.

“Hopefully, with this center, he will be able to instill in young people the value of the written word,” Whitmore said.

Proctor created a Facebook fan page and group and a Twitter for Books Forever. He said he hopes to have his website finished by the end of February. Proctor also wants a logo, which is sophomore visual communication design major Ally Karam’s job to design.

Karam said she is using a book and the infinity symbol as a basis for her design of the logo for Books Forever.

“We’re just in the beginning stages, but he’s pretty excited about it,” Karam said.

This is her first real job, which Karam said she finds exciting.

“It’s great to be doing something for an organization that I really believe in,” Karam said.

Proctor said the process is coming along nicely. He said his main goal is to get people to read more. Although he prefers the paper version, he said even a Kindle is okay as long as people are reading.

“Books are so important to our society,” Proctor said. “They might cost a little more than your electronic book, but it’s worth that extra cost.”

Contact Maranda Shrewsberry at [email protected].