julie wade

Nominated by Kellam Eanes

Where was this person born?

Greensboro, NC

Why is this person a hero to you?

Julie started the Snake, Rabbit, and Snail bookmobile in 2014. She wanted every child in Asheville to have access to books. Her thinking was that every child should be able to have books of their very own - ones that they don't have to return and can treasure. Julie's goal is to foster a love of reading in children, especially those at risk or with little opportunity.


With a background in used book sales and a love for reading, Julie started taking donations for gently used books. She sells them at low cost out of her bookmobile at local events, farmers' markets, etc. With the money she collects, she hosts free educational lectures (around nine per year) for children in Asheville. The lectures tend to focus on natural science (bats, snakes, Bigfoot, etc.).

She started a program where she puts what she calls "free rotating libraries" into various locations where children can borrow, trade, or keep books from the shelves. She provides the bookshelves and the books and restocks the shelves every two or three months. The idea is to get books to kids who may not have easy access otherwise. Also, they can add to their home libraries. She puts the shelves in places that serve families that don't have much money, like waiting rooms where children get bored, but have to go with their parents. Some of the locations include: Burton Street Community Center, Lonnie D. Burton Headstart Preschool, Eblen Charities waiting room, Trinity Place Youth Shelter, Fiesta Laundromat, WNC Community Health Services in the Minnie Jones building, and the pre-preschool program sponsored by the YMCA at Hall Fletcher Elementary School (for families that can't afford preschool).

She has donated books to the Mary Benson House (which is a rehab type place for women - many who have children with them). Other recipients include HelpMate (battered women's shelters, for the children there) and the runaway girl's home through Trinity Place. She also donated one book per kindergartner last year at Isaac Dickson Elementary School.

Julie's vision of making reading and educational opportunities available to children in our community, especially the underprivileged, makes her a hero in our community.

Do you know any stories about this person's childhood?

When Julie and her sister were little, they loved how the librarians would stamp the check-out cards in the books. It was so loud and decisive and the little numbers were so perfect.

They would go home and get all of their books and play library, taking turns "checking the books out." They didn't have a stamp, but would open the books and hit the books to make the sound.

She still has some of her childhood books and loves them!

Is there anything else we should know about your nominee?

Julie Wade has been my friend since we were 13 and is one of the most thoughtful, selfless people I know. She has a seven year old daughter named Sovay.