• 59°

New director takes over literacy council

A new champion of reading has taken the helm of the Lafayette County Literacy Council.

Sarah McLellan took over as executive director Nov. 9, is learning the ropes and is eager to work on grants for the nonprofit. She’s also excited to promote the group’s various efforts.

McLellan, 40, brings a solid background in literacy to the council, with her most recent job as literacy resource consultant for Delaney Educational Enterprises, a book company out of San Diego. She also previously served in marketing for the hospital.

“I am excited to work with the Lafayette County Literacy Council Board and I look forward to continuing the successful programs that have been built in recent years,” she said.

Some of the programs she will lead include the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Adult Basic Literacy Education — GED preparation, Children’s Book Festival and LOU Reads.

At her side helping with the ABLE program is a volunteer AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America member.

“We have our VISTA,” she said. “I have loved learning about the VISTAs and we are so fortunate to have her on board. We also have a College Corp member, and thank goodness we have Ole Miss here. We have our literacy council board and they are a working board for every program that we have.”

One of McLellan’s first tasks is ensuring members of the community get a letter about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and the current campaign to get books into that library.

“A book is mailed to a child every month until the age of 5 in Lafayette County,” she said. “It’s amazing. We’re able to do all this by grants that the literacy council receives. We have just launched our gift of literacy campaign. Every year around Christmas we do a gift of literacy, so we’re saying it’s the time of year to give, and this year the money will go toward the books.”

Next up for McLellan to focus on is the Children’s book festival, which brings every first-grader in the entire county to the Ford Center during the week of the Conference of the Book and each child leaves with a book.

McLellan, a Missouri native, moved to Oxford in 1993 and is raising two children here with her husband Michael, and wants to be sure her community continues to learn, especially through books.

“I hope to encourage the love of reading among children and adults and help promote literacy in the Lafayette County community,” she said.