News and Announcements

OHIO’s Patton College of Education’s Stevens Literacy Center provides free books to Southeast Ohio residents

Ohio University’s Patton College of Education is proud to announce an exciting initiative that will bring positive impact to many in the region. The Molina Foundation has granted the Patton College of Education’s Edward Stevens Literacy Center 30,000 books of high-quality literature to distribute to low-income, at-risk families throughout Southeast Ohio counties.

“We are so fortunate to be able to partner with the Molina Foundation. Their donation of 30,000 books is very much appreciated and will be distributed in schools across Southeast Ohio, making a real difference for students in our region. I'm proud of the work Dr. Julie Francis and her team in the Stevens Literacy Center have done and the profound impact it has had and will continue to have in our community,” Sara Helfrich, interim dean of the Patton College, said.

Established in 1997, the Stevens Literacy Center works to support the missions of The Patton College of Education and Ohio University by focusing on improving lives through research, development and promotion of literacy across the lifespan.

“On behalf of the Patton College's Stevens Literacy Center, we are thrilled to be the stewards of this project. This grant will support a wide distribution of reading material in an effort to increase the accessibility of high-quality literature for all ages in our region,” Julie Barnhart Francis, director of the Stevens Literacy Center, said.

“We've distributed books through almost all the local school districts, the Athens library, both local medical systems, Integrated Services, Jobs and Family Services, Athens on Wheels, Ohio Rise, Appalachian Behavioral Studies, and a few local churches. Everyone is enthusiastic and excited about the books. We are grateful to our community partners that strengthen the chain of distribution from the ACEnet warehouse and into the hands of children, adults, and families across our region,” Francis added.

One important logistical consideration of this initiative was the proper storage of the books. The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) provided the much-needed warehouse space to accommodate the large volume of books while the Stevens Literacy Center built local community partnerships.

“We are glad that we had the opportunity and some space at our Nelsonville facility to help the Stevens Literacy Center obtain their Molina Foundation book grant. The quality and diversity of the new books is amazing, and we are excited to see them getting out into our communities,” said Executive Director Larry Fisher.

The Molina Foundation, founded by Martha Molina Bernadett, M.D., MBA, President and CEO, is a nonprofit organization focused on reducing inequalities in access to education and health.  Since 2004, the foundation has worked with over 2,500 community-based organizations and schools throughout the United States providing measurable positive impact in the lives of children and families.

According to Molina Bernadett, there is also a link between education and health care that by providing literacy resources can help improve individual’s lives.

“If you can’t read, then you can’t understand the directions on your medicine bottle or understand what preventive care measures you need to take make sure your children are immunized,” Molina Bernadett explained.

Institutions or organizations located in Southeast Ohio who are interested in helping distribute books to families can contact The Stevens Literacy Center at or by calling 740.593.0677.

November 29, 2022
Staff reports