Mobile library project to bring additional reading opportunities to Lowndes County children

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

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Lowndes County children will soon gain access to reading opportunities within their own communities, thanks to a mobile library initiative.

The Children’s Policy Council, in conjunction with the Lowndes Board of Education, received a $20,000 grant award as part of the Department of Early Childhood Education’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

“This is an opportunity to put more books in the children’s hands and give them more opportunities to read,” said Tara Green, Lowndes County District Mental Health Services Coordinator. “The bus will help foster a love and desire for reading as well as help them increase vocabulary and their reading comprehension.”

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The school system will use the funds to refurbish a school bus, outfitting the bus as a mobile library with six Chromebook stations, children’s furniture, and books.

“The bus will go into the communities,” Green said. “There will be a schedule and the bus will visit set locations so that children will have easy access to [books].”

The Lowndes Children’s Policy Council submitted the grant application with a focus around improving literacy for children ages birth to 8 years of age, Green said, as part of an overall effort to implement retention guidelines of the Alabama Literacy Act for students not reading on grade level by 2023.

“We know that literacy is an issue that translates into problems down the road,” said District Judge Adrian Johnson. “If a child isn’t reading at grade level at age 3, the studies show that they’re less likely than their contemporaries to graduate from high school or go to college and more likely to drop out or experience additional problems. If we can ensure that our children are reading at grade level by the time they get into the third grade, then there’s a greater chance of success down the road.”

Terrell Enterprises in Greenville is working on design ideas to create the “library on wheels,” Smith said.

Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Jason Burroughs said the bus will be painted to appeal to children. Seating has already been removed and laminate flooring will be added for easy cleanup.

“We’re not going to do book shelves, but we are looking at storage totes where we can put the books,” Burroughs said. “We’ll add kid-friendly furniture, like soft cushions where they can come in and relax. The bus will also be outfitted with Wi-Fi.”

Green said the school system hopes to have the mobile library out in communities in Spring of 2023. The superintendent’s office will consider and finalize design plans in the coming months.