Schools Open Their Library Doors
As the release of the last Harry Potter book gets millions of kids reading nationwide, the Daniel Boone Regional Library and Columbia Public Schools are finding another way to keep kids reading. With a grant of more than $11,000 from the Missouri State Library, the two organizations are able to open four school libraries one day a week for three hours. The libraries are open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Mondays it's West Boulevard Elementary, Tuesdays it's Field Elementary, Wednesdays are at Blue Ridge Elementary, and Thursdays are at Benton Elementary.
"This grant kind of bridges the time between summer school ending and school beginning," said Sarah Howard of Daiel Boone Regional Library. "So there's that five weeks in there, and we thought it would be very important to pick some schools where kids can walk to the schools to be able to check-out books and participate in activities."
Each week, the program has different activities for the students.
"It's great how imaginative kids are," volunteer Katie Lappin said. "You know, you give them a piece of white, blank paper, and they take all these crayons and the markers, and we have a bag of stamps, and they just make these great little pictures. And we all get to make them, too, so it's kind of fun, you know, to let your inner kid out."
In addition to arts and crafts, students can walk through the library and check out books. With about 20 people showing up to Blue Ridge Elementary the first week of the program, officials hope more students embrace the library.
"I really want them to feel like this is a fun place," said Rebecca Bevel-Smith, Blue Ridge Elementary Librarian. "I also want them to feel like this is their place where they can come. These are their books, they're here for them. So it really is just their library."
The summer program is open to everyone.
"Any student is welcome to come here," Bevel-Smith said. "They don't even have to be a student. Families that home school are welcome to come into our building. Anyone who wants to drop by Blue Ridge Elementary is welcome to come here."
The library hopes to keep the students coming back and make the summer program a tradition. Magician Joel Meyers will be making his only appearances of the summer with the Daniel Boone Regional Library at the schools from August 6-9.