More kids sign up for library book delivery program

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COLUMBIA - A library program that delivers library books to students in rural mid-Missouri towns has had more kids sign up in the first week than signed up all last summer.

Books by Snail is a program Daniel Boone Regional Library offers to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who go to school in rural mid-Missouri areas. Kids can order three books from the library and then library staff picks those books out and mails them to the student in a blue bag. Once a kid finishes the books, he or she can mail the books back to the library with an order of three more books. Students can send the books back and get three more books as many times as they want throughout the summer.

New this year, children who order picture books can have five instead of three to keep them busy.

Children's Librarian Hilary Aid said this program is targeted toward kids who might not otherwise be able to make it into the library during the summer.

"We learned that a lot of the kids that live in Boone and Callaway county that are further out of town don't actually make it in to town to the library the entire summer. So they don't have books," Aid said.

The program started Wednesday, May 27 and goes until July 31. Aid said in 2014, only 325 students signed up total. This year, there have been over 280 kids who have signed up in the first week of the program.

"And that doesn't even include the kids that they've mailed in their form, said, ‘we want these books,' but they don't have a library card yet," Aid said. "There's about 50 of those."

Each student must have an active library card. So 50 students have signed up for the program who don't have library cards yet. Once those 50 kids are in the system, they will be added to the 280 kids already signed up.

Aid said the library gets about a $14,000 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services to be able to run the program. She said the grant pays for the postage to be able to mail the books to the kids, two part-time workers who help pull the books, and it goes toward purchasing new books for the library. This is the eighth year the library has offered the program and the eighth year it has received a grant.

The program also helps encourage kids to read over the summer.

"We know that kids that don't read over the summer actually lose three months of reading learning," Aid said. "So we want to keep them reading all summer so when they go back to school in the fall, they're ready to jump right in where they left off."

Aid said the program is also available for students that are homeschooled.

"If they're a home schooling family and they live in those rural school districts, we'd be happy to mail them books," she said.

To be eligible for the Books by Snail program, the student has to go to school in one of these cities:

Auxvasse
Hallsville
Harrisburg
Hatton
Holts Summit
Kingdom City
Mokane
New Bloomfield
Sturgeon
Williamsburg

Students at the schools in these cities received a pamphlet to sign up during the school year. You can also sign up online and submit your books requests.

For students who live near one of the Daniel Boone Regional Library branches in Columbia, Ashland or Fulton, there is a summer reading program they can participate in. With this program, students are rewarded for keeping track of their reading hours. Students using the Books by Snail program can participate in Summer Reading as well.

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