How the Bookmobile Helps Bartow County
Our vision is an end to generational poverty in Bartow County. Our goals are that every child in Bartow is kindergarten ready when they begin school and that all children read proficiently by the end of the third grade. Many parts of Bartow County 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 addition to a mobile library, the Bookmobile gives each child a book to keep at each visit to build their own home library. The Bookmobile also 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 intensive services 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). The summer reading program helps children from low-income families combat the summer reading regression that often takes place between grades and prevents a widening of the learning and achievement gap between low-income and middle/upper-income students.
We teach parents the importance of early language and literacy development at home and train them in strategies to create a language-rich environment. We also offer training to childcare center staff on how to create a language and literacy-rich classroom environment. We strive to educate the community-at-large about the importance of early literacy and advocate for programs that support early literacy development.
In addition, we maintain a network of 40+ Little Free Libraries throughout Bartow, and we oversee and administer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Bartow.