Two students camp out in Scott Library for Live-in for Literacy event

It’s amazing how a little shut-eye in a library can make dreams come true. But that’s what happens when two York students camp out at the Scott Library for one week to raise awareness and funds to build libraries in developing countries as part of the Live-in for Literacy event, held across Canada, Jan. 27 to Feb. 3.

York’s two library campers, first-year Schulich School of Business students Vanessa Hering and Lingsha Hu, are members of the charitable student organization Discover the Reality of Educating All Minds (DREAM), which started at Queen’s University five years ago and has now spread to 10 Canadian universities, including York. It has raised more than $70,000, which the charity Room to Read has then used to build nine school libraries in Nepal, four school libraries in India and one computer lab in Cambodia.

Schulich School of Business student Shane Hebel, director of corporate relations for DREAM at YorkU, says “It is estimated that we enrich 5,000 lives a year.”

Right: Volunteer Alicia Gutierrez at last year’s Live-in for Literacy event in the Scott Library

Last January was the first time DREAM at YorkU participated in the Live-in for Literacy event. Their team was able to raise a little over $2,500 by camping out at the Scott Library, and with the help of University librarian Cynthia Archer, who offered to match donations collected on one day of the event. That generosity turned $300 raised from students into $600. Reference librarian Lisa Sloniowski and library facilities manager John Thomson were also instrumental in making the event a success, says Hebel.

This year, two DREAM at YorkU students will once again live in tents pitched in Scott Library with the goal of raising $5,000 through the Live-in for Literacy event. Canada-wide, the goal is for all the DREAMs to raise $27,000 to build six more school libraries in India.

Hebel hopes York faculty will help DREAM reach its goal. “Drawing on last year’s success with faculty matching donations, we have created the ‘Book for a Book’ matching campaign in which faculty members are requested to choose one day out of the seven-day campaign to match donations raised by DREAM during the Live-in for Literacy event or to donate a fixed amount,” he says.

To participate in the “Book for a Book” matching campaign or for more information about the DREAM organization, contact Shane Hebel at or visit the Live-in for Literacy or DREAM websites.