The annual YFD book drive is underway. (Photo: Kelly Sikkema, StockSnap)

Have multiple tattered copies of “Harry Potter” on your bookshelf? Stacks of children’s books collecting dust? As spring cleaning ramps up, city leaders are hoping you might consider donating some of those books.

The city of Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development has announced the fourth annual book drive to benefit young readers. Books can be donated at all 17 YFD centers, at Chattanooga City Hall or the main YFD office at 501 W. 12th St. A pickup can be arranged by calling 423-643-6886.

Click here for more information and here for a map of donation locations.

The drive began April 12, known as Drop Everything and Read Day, which also honors children’s and young adult fiction author Beverly Cleary on her birthday.

The drive will continue through the end of May. Age-appropriate books for preschool to 12th-grade reading levels will be accepted.

The drive is part of a larger effort from the city to promote early reading and literacy. 

“We’re trying to create lifelong readers,” YFD communication coordinator Enora Moss said. “We want people to understand that reading is one of the greatest escapes. It allows us to use our imagination.”

Thousands of books were collected in the past three years. Large donations were made by Amazon.com, The Public Library and private donors. 

Moss said it’s important to instill a habit of reading early in life.

“We want to make sure that literature and reading is a part of everyday life,” she said. “Not only does it enrich your life, but it can be fun. There’s not a lot of overhead, and there are so many lessons to learn in picking up a book and reading it.”