Posted Date: 07/15/2021
The USD 470 Early Literacy Initiative and Ark City Public Library partnered to launch a Mobile Library throughout the month of July. The purpose of the mobile library is to reach children ages birth-5th grade in the community who might not otherwise frequent the library due to transportation needs, caregiver work schedules, or other barriers. The summer mobile library runs on Wednesdays throughout the month of July. The route follows Sally’s Spot meal bus stops and ends at Paris Park near the IYQ Camp pick-up location. That schedule is available at www.usd470.com/sfsp.
Many libraries across the state and country utilize mobile libraries as a part of their community outreach and programming efforts. Early Literacy Coordinator, Lindsay Wilke, wanted to gather data to see if the concept would benefit Ark City residents:
“The mobile library pilot project is really exciting,” said Wilke. “We know that our local library offers amazing services for children and families and is a crucial partner in raising literacy rates in our community, but people can have a hard time accessing services for various reasons. The mobile library brings the services directly to the community, and our data is showing that the mobile library is reaching new families and meeting families where they are.”
An early literacy grant from the Kansas Health Foundation allowed the ACPL to hire a summer intern to coordinate the mobile library. Elena Woodburn is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University who returned home to Cowley County for the summer and is serving as the Community Outreach Coordinator for ACPL.
Ark City Library Director Mendy Pfannenstiel hopes the pilot project will be a success and will allow the library to expand services in this way permanently. “Bookmobiles disseminate information, erase barriers, and equalize opportunities for people in the community. There are segments of the population that depend on our outreach services, such as patrons who are a part of our Homebound program, and we’re excited to expand our outreach by piloting a mobile library focused on early literacy.”
The mobile library is a part of a larger effort funded by the Kansas Health Foundation to increase literacy in children ages birth through third grade within the community. The Kansas Health Foundation is a philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit www.kansashealth.org. Caregivers interested in additional literacy development resources can visit www.usd470.com/earlyliteracy or https://linktr.ee/arkcitylibrarykids to learn about other opportunities.