Providence Community Library will create six “Recreational Reading” mini-libraries in Providence Recreation Centers. The mini-libraries will include 250 high-interest paperback books, magazine subscriptions on popular topics, and an assortment of literacy-rich games. The reading area will be made inviting with a long bookcase, book displays, a soft rug, and beanbag chairs. Summer Recreation campers, as well as youth participating in sports year round, will be able to borrow books, barrier free, to read at home. Currently the Recreation Centers have the desire and staffing, but not the resources, to promote reading to youth. However, they serve many families through their sports and health-related programs in neighborhoods where books are scarce. According to Unite for Literacy, the majority of Providence Recreation Centers are situated in “book deserts” where there are only between one and ten books in neighborhood homes.
The Recreational Reading program will also provide essential resources for summer learning. The Providence Recreation Department hires Summer Reading Youth Associates and Program Managers to implement summer literacy activities in their summer recreation camps in partnership with Providence Community Library. The presence of the libraries will encourage and support daily reading, in camp and at home, to mitigate the issue of summer learning loss in the City; currently 60% of Providence Public School students lose reading skills in the summer months.
“The news of our grant award from Better World Books set off a celebration among Providence Community Library and Providence Recreation staff. Last summer, the recreation campers eagerly awaited weekly visits by our mobile library, quickly selecting their favorite books to borrow. Imagine the campers’ excitement when they find mini-libraries stocked with popular books, magazines, and games right in their neighborhood recreation centers. Reading over the summer is key to maintaining skills, and these new mini libraries will provide barrier-free access to books and other literacy materials right in six Providence neighborhoods. Even better, the libraries will be there all year round! Thank you for your generous gift.” –Cheryl Space, Youth Services Coordinator, Providence Community Library