Mobile Book Center serves thousands of young bookworms

WCPOPublished: October 24, 2017
Published: October 24, 2017

Ten-year-old Micah Rogers reads so much, he's run out of books at home. Luckily for him, the Princeton City Schools Mobile Book Center is decked out from top to bottom with thousands of page-turners. The Mobile Book Center's last life was as a school bus, but it was reincarnated over the summer as a library on wheels for students such as Rogers. Its goal is to help prevent the dreaded "summer slide," which describes the loss of knowledge that children experience during their summer vacation from classes.  "Students within the summer don't engage in education activity enough," district library media specialist Amy Price said. "It really improves their readiness to come back to school and improves their reading during the summer." During summer 2017, more than 2,500 kids climbed aboard to check out books. And it made a difference, according to marketing director Tricia Roddy. Testing revealed one surveyed first grade class retained 73 percent of collective reading knowledge after using the Mobile Book Center for a summer. Most other first grade classes scored an average of 23 percent retention. Unlike a stationary library, there is no time limit for how long a patron can keep a book checked out -- it can be days, weeks or even months. Although this does mean the Mobile Book Center is always wanting for donations, Price said it's easily worthwhile for the way it's able to enrich children's lives. In addition to books, students can use VR glasses to participate in programs led by book center volunteers. "We just took these kindergarteners from under the ocean to the top of the world to outer space in 20 minutes," Price said after a book center event. "It's a great way to let out kids who can't travel see some places and let them know the world is a little bit bigger than Cincinnati."

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