The Louisville Free Public Library has decided to take their services on the road. Literally. The Library is introducing its first Book Bike.
Librarians will build minds and calf muscles as they pedal their way around to local communities to reach our children who are at-risk of falling behind in their education. Good news for the librarians, the bright yellow Book Bike has an electric motor that can help when their legs just can’t do the work anymore. It also has an umbrella and plenty of storage for books.
“LFPL is committed to increasing childhood literacy scores in Louisville, and sometimes that means taking library services directly to children and families who lack transportation or access to a library,” said Library Director Lee Burchfield in a news release. “This bike will enable librarians to hand out free books, issue library cards via Wi-Fi enabled laptops, and offer pop-up Storytime and other programming directly to children at parks, bus stops, and community events.”
Rina G. Gratz, Executive Director of Early Childhood Programs for Jefferson County Public Schools said, “If we are going to address the 30 million plus word gap between four-year-olds from typical middle class homes and those living in households with less means, we must begin by providing high-quality, developmentally appropriate books for young children. This is especially true of those living in book deserts in our community, where access to printed material is limited, or non-existent, without transportation.”
Access to high-quality early education is critical to the success of our children in school and in ensuring that our community and economy continue to prosper into the future. The grant from PNC will cover the cost of the bike, provide books, safety gear for the librarian, a laptop and WiFi connectivity. The Book Bike aligns with an initiative by the bank called PNC Grow Up Great® to invest $500 million in early childhood. The initiative will span multiple years and help children from birth to age five, giving them a shot at academic and life success.
This is an important addition to Jefferson county where only one in three students are reading at grade level.
“The Book Bike is another example of how our libraries are building a healthier and stronger Louisville,” said Mayor Greg Fischer in the release. “Innovative programs like this support our core value of lifelong learning and will help us reach even more children with resources that will set them on a path for success. Projects like this are possible when the community comes together for lifelong learning.”
The library hopes to add more book bikes to their system, expanding access for children and communities around the city.
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