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Howard County Times
Howard County

Ellicott City middle-schoolers collect 450 books to benefit services at Miller Branch Library

Mount View Middle School students Akshan Ranasinghe and Roshan Gopi wanted to find a way to give back to their community while promoting literacy. Inspired by their love of reading, they created the Turf Valley Book Drive, which launched last month.

Roshan Gopi, 12, and Akshan Ranasinghe, 14, are students at Mount View Middle School who started a book drive in their community called the Turf Valley Book Drive that began November 18th and will end December 31st. They have collected over 500 books to date that will be donated to the Miller Branch Library.

The drive began with the goal of collecting 300 used books to donate to the Miller Branch Library in Ellicott City. Since then, the drive has exceeded its goal and has collected 450 books, which the library will sell on the Better World Books website to benefit the Friends and Foundation of the Howard County Library System, a nonprofit organization that supports the library in its mission to deliver high quality education for all ages.

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Akshan, 14, of Ellicott City, said he created the drive to address a need in the community.

“I was just looking for ways to help people,” he said. “At first, I thought of a food drive, but I thought there’s already a lot of food drives and then when I thought of book drives, none really came to my mind, so that’s when I thought there was a need for them in the community.”

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Roshan, 12, of Ellicott City, said he wanted to be part of the drive to help those in the community improve their reading skills.

“During the summer I was reading a lot and it really helped my English skills, so I wanted to help other people improve theirs as well,” he said.

Roshan Gopi, 12, and Akshan Ranasinghe, 14, are students at Mount View Middle School who started a book drive in their community called the Turf Valley Book Drive that began November 18th and will end December 31st. They have collected over 500 books to date that will be donated to the Miller Branch Library.

To promote the drive, the two hung up flyers in their neighborhood, went door to door in other neighborhoods and reached out to family and friends.

Tharindra Ranasinghe, Akshan’s father, said he has helped the two by driving them around the community, but the boys did most of the work themselves.

Ranasinghe said he is proud of the effort the two have made to help the community.

“It makes me very happy and proud as a father because I think it’s important to give back to the community in whatever way you can,” he said. “The fact that Akshan is starting to do that at a very young age makes me very happy and proud.”

Akshan said he hopes the drive will help the library system increase literacy levels in the community.

“I just hope to increase funding by a substantial amount,” he said. “I know it’s hard because we’re just two kids, but we just want to do as much as we can.”

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Books can be dropped off in a closed, sealed box at 10846 Timberline Lane in Ellicott City through Dec. 31. For more information, email turfvalleybookdrive@gmail.com.


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