RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala.- Scotty Brooks loves reading. He is a huge fan of John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He got fully immersed in reading in 10th grade when he started thumbing through a book and realized he loved it because it was like a movie playing in his mind. He also reads with his wife and two kids.
This is Brooks’ first year at Russell County High School as the media specialist. “One of the first things I did as I walked in, I was talking to the lady who was leaving, and I asked her what her operating budget was, and she said she didn’t have one,” Brooks said. “So I said, how do you go about ordering your books? And she said, you don’t unless you get a donation or whatever.” Brooks says the library currently has a little more than 9,000 books, but a school the size of Russell County needs more than 19,000.
In addition to no operating budget, Brooks says there have been cuts to libraries across the country in recent years. Plus, a tornado took the roof off of the high school in the 90’s and it left a dent in the library’s collection. It was a combination of these factors that got the wheels spinning in his head. He wanted to take his passion for cycling and use it to help earn money for the library.
On Nov. 7, Brooks will leave from the school’s parking lot and bike to Montgomery to raise money for new books and computers for the school. Brooks says people have asked him why do this, and his response is that anybody can ask for donations, but he wants to do this to show the students that he really cares about them and if he can get one student engaged in reading, then the trip will be worth it.
Besides raising money for the library, Brooks hopes his ride will leave a greater impact on the students, an impact that can not be read in a book. “I have a cork that hangs off the back of my seat, and people ask me all the time what it’s about; once you uncork a bottle of wine, it only has so many days of goodness and I tell people this all of the time, once it goes bad, it goes bad and once we’re uncorked in life, we only have so many days of goodness and I think we need to make every day count,” Brooks said
Brooks says he has been contacting businesses to sponsor his ride.
There is also a GoFundMe on the school’s website that people can donate to or learn more about the ride: http://rchs-rcsd-al.schoolloop.com/