Professor donates hundreds of books to western Iowa jail
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Western Community College professor and literacy advocate has donated hundreds of books to a county jail.
Nicole Juranek, a communications professor at the community college in Council Bluffs, hauled 800 paperback books to the Pottawattamie County Jail on Wednesday to give inmates there something to read, the Daily Nonpareil reported .
It was Juranek’s third annual donation to the jail. But this one more than doubled the 300 she donated in her first two years.
Juranek usually makes her donation during the holiday season, but this year she decided to do it on the heels of her 40th birthday.
“In lieu of a party, I asked friends and family to send/drop off paperback books,” she said. “My goal was 400.”
Juranek said her colleagues at the college helped make the vast number of donated books possible.
“I’m lucky to be housed with all the English teachers, so the people in my wing are very well read,” she said.
Other faculty members often bring books to Juranek’s office and sometimes leave bags full of paperbacks hanging on her door, she said.
“But I have friends and family that save books all year,” she said.
The books must be paperbacks but can be any genre, Juranek said. She donates a wide variety, from children’s books to science fiction, nonfiction, mystery and travel.
“I’m a believer in literacy and, of course, second chances,” she said. “If I can increase literacy in any way, I think the world is slightly a better place.”
Juranek used to teach reading workshops at Nebraska prison in Omaha, but had to give it up when her children were born. Now that her boys are older, she has signed up to volunteer at the Pottawattamie County Jail.
Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com