WALNUT CREEK -- As community relations manager of Barnes & Noble in Walnut Creek, Kathie Cima's mission is to reach out to the community through the bookstore and bridge the gap between the haves and the haves not.

That's why Cima holds fundraisers throughout the year and not just during the holidays -- to keep connecting with the community.

With the advent and boom of e-Readers and more people having access to them for entertainment and education purposes, Cima said she reached out to Martinez-based Foster-a-Dream, a nonprofit that provides support to local foster youth, to see if Barnes 7 Noble could help support local youth's educational goals by giving them access to Nooks -- Barnes & Noble's e-Readers.

"There's a disparity between those who have access to everything and those kids who don't have anything," said Cima. "We challenge the community to bridge the gap that our foster youth must overcome on their way to college life. Intervention must happen early. We will attempt to level the playing field by giving these youth access to the world via Nooks."

The public can help bridge the gap by presenting a voucher as they purchase items at Barnes & Noble Walnut Creek during the Foster-a-Dream Bookfair from Nov. 3-7. A percentage of their purchases will benefit Martinez-based Foster-a-Dream. Customers can also support the cause online at bn.com/bookfairs by entering book fair ID 10816973 at checkout.

Kim Casteneda, executive director of Foster-a-Dream, which serves five local counties, said she's grateful that Cima approached her about this fundraiser.

"Anything we can do to get students excited about getting an education is helpful," she said.

Foster a Dream awards scholarships every year to foster youth they help support and the Nooks will encourage students to continue their education.

"The Nook is a wonderful window to the world," Cima said. "Students will have a study and research tool at their fingertips. They can get access to PSAT and SAT prep books, browse the Internet and access e-mail and have direct access to apply to college.

"People can help keep the college-bound equipped with the basic tools of technology."

Customers are also invited to purchase a Nook 8GB tablet or gift cards to directly donate to Foster-a-Dream, she said.

"I think, at that age, students all want to get their hands on a tablet," Cima said. "This Nook helps give them the tools they need."

Castaneda said she's hoping the event will help raise funds for at least 12 Nooks.

"The Nooks will definitely help our college students, giving them access to any book at their fingertips and also as a tablet for school," she said. "They rarely get the latest greatest thing and they tend to have to borrow or use what the school has. This will open the world to them."

The bookfair will also feature local author appearances: Allen Klein, author of "The Art of Living Joyfully: How to be Happier Everyday of the Year," at 11 a.m. Nov. 3; author Brandon Mull at 7 p.m. Nov. 3, 4 p.m. Nov. 4, and 6 p.m. Nov. 7; and Grant Peterson of Rivendell Bicycle Works of Walnut Creek and author of "Just Ride," at 2 p.m. Nov. 4.

if you go
WHAT: Foster-a-Dream Barnes & Noble Bookfair
WHEN: Nov. 3-7
WHERE: Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1149 S. Main St., Walnut Creek
INFORMATION: Support Foster-a-Dream online at bn.com/bookfairs by entering book fair ID 10816973 at checkout. Visit www.fosteradream.org