The dream to help in the fight against illiteracy has been going on for decades, but locally, the Bookcase Project has been a force for the past eight years. Celebrating its ongoing work at the most recent banquet on Oct. 17, founder Jim Davidson said more and more communities are getting involved.

The construction and gifts of bookcases filled with books for children in need has been the central focus of the group, and that has bled to other parts of the state as well as other locations in Texas and other states.

The banquet, held at Bob Courtway Middle School, is the sixth time the group has gotten together to raise funds for the project, which will see the construction of its 500th bookcase in the near future.

Not only does the bookcase house a number of reading materials for the child, but Davidson said the oak shelves give the child a sense of ownership, which can lead to a lifelong love of learning and reading.

"Since our inception in 2005, the members of the Conway Bookcase Project Committee, with bountiful help from our community, have built and presented 450 quality, personalized oak bookcases and a starter set of books to pre-school children in the Conway Housing Authority and Head Start Program," the committee said in its release. "We are all about giving back, and out focus is literacy."

The next 50 bookcases will be presented in April 2014, and those who attended the banquet will help provide the seed money for future projects throughout the state and region.

Davidson said he has recently been to Pine Bluff to discuss the project and how it can be implemented in more communities.

With the large number of children in need of basic educational items, the project will have much more work to do in the years ahead.