FSU, Warrick Dunn Family Foundation to present home libraries to single-parent families

Warrick Dunn

The Warrick Dunn Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Florida State University School of Library & Information Studies, will present home libraries to two single-parent families on Friday.

The presentation of books and other educational materials is the culmination of a pilot project partnering the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation with Dunn’s alma mater and is an extension of his foundation’s Homes for the Holidays program, in which Habitat for Humanity-built homes are furnished for selected single-parent families who move in near the holidays. The goal of this project is to provide Homes for the Holidays families with an extensive collection of materials to nurture and inspire their interest and love for reading and literacy.

The home libraries will be presented to the families of Latashee Daniels and Wannessia Jefferson, who own the two homes in Tallahassee most recently furnished by the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation. Scheduled to take part in the presentation will be John Thomas, a member of the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation Board of Directors; FSU College of Communication and Information Dean Larry Dennis; Don Yaeger, New York Times best-selling author and award-winning inspirational speaker; Corinne Jorgensen, director of the School of Library & Information Studies; Nancy Everhart, associate professor and director of the Partnerships Advancing Library Media (PALM) Center; and graduate research assistant Melissa Johnston.

The presentation will take place at:

11:30 A.M.
(Map and directions can be found here.)

The collaboration was the brainchild of Everhart, who also is immediate past president of the American Association of School Librarians. Doctoral students from the PALM Center went to the two families’ homes and conducted extensive interviews with the children in order to determine their reading interests and preferences. Everhart and faculty members Melissa Gross, Don Latham and Marcia Mardis worked with graduate students in their classes to select appropriate materials for each family.

“This service-learning project highlights the unique skills that our faculty and students can provide to the community,” Everhart said.

Nancy Everhart
Nancy Everhart

Follett Library Resources provided the digital and printed materials in the libraries, valued at about $800 per family.

“Follett is delighted to sponsor the home libraries for these families because our mission is to support literacy and lifelong learning,” Follett President Todd Litzsinger said. “Having books available in the home promotes family reading.”

Dunn announced the collaboration in November 2010 at the College of Communication & Information‘s homecoming celebration, where he was honored as 2010 Distinguished Alumni for the School of Library & Information Studies.

Although the pilot program focused on Homes for the Holidays families in Tallahassee, the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation hopes to expand and replicate the university collaboration to other communities in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.

“The collaboration with FSU enhances our Homes for the Holidays program for single parents and their children,” said Jennifer Maxwell, executive director of the foundation. “Increasing literacy within our recipient families will create lasting change for future generations.”

Dunn is one of the legends of FSU football. As the team’s starting tailback from 1993 to 1997, he earned numerous accolades, and was a member of the national championship team of 1993. Dunn graduated from Florida State in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in information studies. He went on to a successful pro career, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.

For more information on Friday’s event, contact Associate Professor Nancy Everhart of the FSU School of Library & Information Studies at (850) 644-8122 or everhart@fsu.edu; or Jennifer J. Maxwell, executive director of the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation, at (404) 367-2230 or maxwell@wd-ff.org.