PITTSBURG, Kan. – United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas announced Thursday it would be expanding its Little Blue Bookshelf project in Pittsburg. The new Little Blue Bookshelf is sponsored by Farmers Insurance Chris Forsythe Agency and will be installed at the Pittsburg Family YMCA, 1100 N. Miles. A ribbon cutting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. at the Pittsburg Family YMCA to celebrate the installation.

The United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas Little Blue Bookshelf project places bookshelves stocked with new or gently-used books appropriate for children from birth to 3rd grade in the community where families and young children visit. The initiative encourages children to visit the shelf and choose a free book to keep and share. The goal of the project is to increase literacy and book ownership by families and encourage positive adult-child interactions.

"I really like the idea of fostering an interest in reading and learning by providing the opportunity for young children in our community to have their own books," Farmers Insurance Agent Chris Forsythe said in a press release. "As both a business owner and member of the YMCA Board, I am very proud to partner with United Way for such a great cause."

The Pittsburg Family YMCA will be the eighth United Way Little Blue Bookshelf in Pittsburg. The other locations are:

• Children’s Advocacy Center, 123 W. Adams St.

• Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Dental Clinic, 924 N. Broadway

• Mother to Mother Ministries, 415 N. Pine St.

• Pittsburg Police Department-Juvenile Intake, 201 N. Pine St.

• Safehouse Crisis Center, 409 N. Walnut St.

• Salvation Army, 307 E. 5th St.

• Wesley House, 411 E. 12th St.

United Way also has Little Blue Bookshelf locations throughout Joplin. The books for each bookshelf are donated by community members and processed through United Way where they are cleaned and sorted. New or gently-used books can be dropped off at the United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas office at 117 W. 4th St. in Pittsburg or 3510 E. 3rd St. in Joplin. Volunteers or service groups are also welcome to hold book drives, clean and sort donated books or volunteer to help restock the bookshelves.

More information about the Little Blue Bookshelf project can be found at www.unitedwaymokan.org/little-blue-bookshelf-project or by calling the United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas office in Pittsburg at 620-231-8140 or Joplin at 417-624-0153.