Springfield nonprofit honored by Library of Congress

A nonprofit founded by two Springfield men which focuses on eliminating book deserts across the Springfield-Dayton area has received an award from the Library of Congress.

The Conscious Connect, Inc. is the first Ohio organization to be recognized in the history of the Literacy Awards.

“We are honored that our organization could receive this award from an institution that recognizes books have the power to change lives,” said co-founder Moses B. Mbeseha.

The Literacy Awards honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, according to the Library of Congress’s website. The awards are meant to spotlight the need for communities worldwide to unite in working for universal literacy.

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“Literacy is the ticket to learning, opportunity and empowerment on a global scale,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations in their efforts to advance reading level and give people the foundation for a better life.”

Since launching in 2016, the Conscious Connect has established more than 105 literary access points, including 29 little libraries and more than 65 reading stations in barbershops and beauty salons.

As a result, the organization has distributed almost 50,000 free books across the Springfield-Dayton area.

“When we first conceptualized our organization, we never knew we would be called upon to end book deserts, but that was the need of the community and we had the ability to respond to it,” said co-founder Karlos Marshall.

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The organization has little libraries, or what Marshall and Mbeseha call ‘houses of knowledge,’ located in the Auburn J. Tolliver Community Peace Garden on South Limestone Street, Lincoln Elementary, Perrin Woods, Fulton Elementary, The Clark Center, Laganda Elementary, Mann Elementary, Kenwood Elementary and other neighborhoods throughout Springfield.

The Conscious Connect has been recognized with awards a handful of other times this year, including being named to Forbes magazine’s, “30 Under 30,” International Literacy Association’s, “30 Under 30,” and the Clark County Luminaries.

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