Panthers, Bank of America support libraries

The Carolina Panthers and Bank of America are teaming up for a season-long fundraising effort to support the Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries, which have recently endured staff reductions, branch closings and reduced hours of operation because of the economy.

The campaign will kick off with a Book Swap that is open to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Founders Hall in uptown Charlotte. Reading enthusiasts can simply bring a book they no longer need, donate $5 and swap the book for a different one.

All participants will receive a bookmark and a raffle ticket for the chance to win prizes, including autographed memorabilia and a pair of tickets with hospitality to the Panthers' home opener versus Tampa Bay on Sept. 19. In addition, Panthers players, TopCats cheerleaders and team mascot Sir Purr will make special appearances.

At the book swap, Bank of America will also introduce a season-long "Text to Donate" program, with proceeds benefiting area libraries. Fans can text READ to 27722, and a $10 donation will be added to their mobile phone bill.

Despite its economic challenges, the library system remains a critical service to Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents. In 2009, area public libraries received 5.8 million visits, lent more than seven million items and served as a huge provider of free computer access. To learn about additional ways to support the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, visit www.cmlibrary.org.

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