How the Bookmobile Helps Bartow County
Bartow County has a robust library system for a community its size. However, there are many parts of the county that remain 10 or more miles from a library branch. For low income families, families that do not have reliable transportation, or individuals who do not drive, this distance puts the library out of reach. The Bookmobile brings the library to these neighborhoods so that families can still have access to books. In the future, we also plan to offer computer and wi-fi access via a mobile computer lab. Computer and internet services are the second most important role of a library in communities, so we want to be able to address that need as well.
In addition to general library services, the Bookmobile offers reading programs in the summer months in partnership with the school feeding program. These established summer meal sites allow us to target communities where the need is greatest and provide a kind of summer reading camp several days a week throughout June and July. Low-income families often do not have access to the types of learning-enrichment activities over the summer that so often are a natural part of summer activities for middle and upper-income families (i.e. travel, museum visits). These summer reading camps help children from low-income families combat the summer reading regression that so often takes place between grades and prevents a widening of the learning and achievement gap between low-income and middle/upper-income students.