Christian Davis, founder of the Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network, stopped at the Queen City Book Bank to pick up books for the children in her program. Left to Right: Christian Davis and University of Cincinnati Football players Wilson Huber, Josh Whyle, Evan Prater, Justin Harris, Blue Smith and Jordan James. Photos provided


On March 9, the Queen City Book Bank (QCBB)  opened its doors for a community wide book give-a-way. More than 50 people attended and over 5,000 gently used books were distributed to people who stopped down for a variety of purposes. But they all had one thing in common—a love for reading and sharing that love with others. That is what the Queen City Book Bank mission embodies.

CEO of the QCBB Michelle Otten Guenther shared, “The energy in the building was contagious all day. I am thankful we were able to provide books to so many people who are doing great work in our community. From teachers, to parents, to leaders and mentors-each visitor is having an impact on our next generation of learners. I loved hearing guests talk with one another while they searched for books that fit their interests or needs. We are incredibly grateful to be a part of connecting people to books and one another.”

University of Cincinnati football player Wilson Huber takes time out to read with one of the youngest visitors at the Queen City Book Bank Give-a-way, Everett Priestle.

Special guests from the University of Cincinnati (UC) football team joined in the afternoon to lend a helping hand. These athletes are members of the 2nd & 7 Foundation, a literacy program founded by Luke Fickell, Mike Vrabel and Ryan Miller, that encourages second graders to read in classrooms across the country. They provide classes with a visit from a role model and gift each student a new “Hog Mollies” book. The “Hog Mollies” are a special book series created 2nd & 7 Foundation that teach children important lessons about teamwork and character development. In addition to volunteering at the QCBB book give-a-way, the UC athletes took time to sit down with kids at the event to read some of their favorite “Hog Mollies” with them. Thanks to the players who took time from their day to help: Justin Harris, Wilson Huber, Joran James, Evan Prater, Blue Smith, and Josh Whyle.

Josh Weirich, Board Member at the 2nd & 7 Foundation and friend of the Queen City Book Bank, joined the athletes at their visit and shared, “We were excited to be part of this special day and love what the Queen City Book Bank is doing for our city. Equal access to great books is important in our schools and homes. We are extremely proud of our student athletes at the 2nd & 7 Foundation. They are doing a great job at showing kids how important and cool reading is to reach their goals in life-on and off the field.”

University of Cincinnati football players visit the Queen City Book Bank to help out on their first Community Book Give-a-way. Left to Right: Josh Whyle (seated), Wilson Huber, Justin Harris, Jordan James, Evan Prater and Blue Smith

The QCBB had three volunteers who were integral to making the day a success: Karen Reiber, Kim Wilson and Katie Feldmann. Thanks to the many book drives and book donations throughout the year, the QCBB was able to make this give-a-way possible. They look forward to offering a similar day this summer as families and teachers get ready to head to school next fall.

Otten Guenther added, “We do not take our mission lightly. Today is just one way we can ensure that the QCBB is working to create a stronger, connected and more literate Greater Cincinnati. The power of people coming together is astounding and can truly create lasting, positive change.”

Left to Right: University of Cincinnati Football Program Chief of Staff Greg Gillum, Queen City Book Bank Board Member Carol Williams, 2nd and 7 Foundation Board Member Josh Weirich and Queen City Book Bank CEO Michelle Otten Guenther enjoy the Community Book Give-a-way event at the Queen City Book Bank on March 9.

Founded in 2021, the Queen City Book Bank is filling a vital resource gap for local K-6 students by providing access, choice and sustained distribution of books to students who would otherwise not have them. QCBB’s simple mission: “10 Books per Year, Every Year” will build home libraries and foster the value of reading at home through book ownership. In addition to book distribution, the QCBB will provide tutoring services and act as a resource hub of information and outreach for parents, educators, community partners and community members.

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Founded in 1999 by Luke Fickell, Ryan Miller, and Mike Vrabel, 2nd & 7 promotes reading by providing free books and positive role models to kids in need, while encouraging young athletes of the community to pay it forward. Over the past 22 years, the program has grown to nearly 200 communities in 26 states.

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