17-year-old Sheldon Spear has been helping to build and stock libraries since he was nine; this year marks his 14th library, and he needs help to collect books for it.
Johannesburg, South Africa (05 August 2022) – Sheldon Spear wanted to give back to his community somehow, so he took his love of reading and turned it into a charity. At the age of nine, he started Need 2 Read in the hopes of sharing his love of reading with as many children as possible.
It started when he collected a few of his older books and wanted to pass them along to his school library. He realised that he could do even more good by donating the books to schools that didn’t have very well-stocked libraries. Sheldon asked his mom Adele if he could have a Facebook page, and she agreed.
“Family and friends started donating good quality second-hand children’s books to Need2Read. There was an overwhelming response. Social media is a powerful platform and the story of Need2Read spread like a wildfire.
Books were being donated from the wider community in Alberton and Johannesburg South.
I started delivering books to needy schools that I was aware of in my immediate environment. Soon we were getting requests and suggestions from others too.
I had set a target to collect 1000 books by the end of 2014. I reached that target in October. So, the target in 2015 was 2500 books.”
Sheldon inspired local schools to host book drives and before long, he was chosen as a LeadSA Youth Hero and given an award for all his efforts.
Over the years, Sheldon has collected enough books to stock and build 13 libraries. He has donated books to the Paediatric Oncology Ward at the Charlotte Makeke Hospital, the Boithuto Care Centre, Mohlodi Primary School in Thokoza and Suidheuwels Primary School just to name a few.
The Need 2 Read libraries have touched the lives of children throughout Johannesburg. As with every organisation, the pandemic and two-year lockdown meant the organisation had to take a step back and wait for the world to reopen. They were able to collect books and stock a library in 2020 but 2021 was too strict and everything was placed on pause.
“Even though the world was closed down – you can travel anywhere in the world by reading a book.”
Now, Sheldon is in his Matric year and his focuses have shifted to his academic, sports, and leadership commitments. While these have kept him busy, Sheldon has set the goal of doing one final library for 2022. It will be his 14th one and his goal is to collect enough books by the 6th of August.
You can help Sheldon reach his library goal by reaching out on Facebook to donate books.