2018 Literacy Hero – Jeanne Pollard


Jeanne Pollard is a retired teacher who has spent her life promoting literacy in San Joaquin and Stanislaus county. She was recently honored by the leaders of the Great Valley Bookfest, who presented her with their Literacy Hero Award.

During her years as an teacher, she was recognized as a knowledgeable and well-respected professional. She was always willing to help her colleagues, and she always seemed to know just the right book to enrich a lesson or inspire a reluctant reader.

Since her retirement, Jeanne has become very active in the Friends of the Library, working to increase public awareness of library needs and to build community support. Her efforts have helped bring many cultural and educational programs to the Manteca Library.

In addition to her support of the public library, Jeanne was the first person in Manteca to set up a “Little Free Library” – a nationwide movement where book lovers build a weathertight bookshelf facing the sidewalk and fill it with books to entice neighborhood children to read. Jeanne has helped many others set up their own Little Free Library stands, and she can attest to the fact that local children love to visit these stands to borrow books.

Jeanne recognizes the critical importance of reading not only for the young, but also for the elderly and housebound. She recently helped sort through the library at Prestige Senior Living to make the books more organized and accessible.

She has been a key member of the Great Valley Bookfest committee since 2012, when she volunteered to organize and manage a used book sale at the very first Bookfest. Thanks to her colossal efforts, the used book sale has become a wildly popular venue at this annual event.

The used book sale places easily affordable books in the hands of avid readers – and also into the hands of teachers, who are encouraged to buy deeply discounted bags of books for their classrooms. Jeanne makes a special effort to share books with new teachers who are just starting their careers, helping them build classroom libraries to help their students to get hooked on reading.

She works tirelessly preparing for the annual book sale, collecting and organizing books year-round – and the sale gets bigger every year. This year, Jeanne and her team have collected and categorized over 28,000 books!

Proceeds from the sale benefit the Friends of the Library. Since 2012, the book sale has generated over $10,000, which has helped pay for many special programs and library materials. When you consider that those funds have been collected in nickels, dimes, and quarters, it’s a very impressive accomplishment!

“During her career and throughout her retirement, Jeanne Pollard has diligently worked to promote literacy for all ages,” commented Melissa King, who chairs the award committee. “Her enthusiasm for books and her willingness to helping others is truly inspiring. It is our great pleasure to recognize her among our region’s Literacy Heroes.”