Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Public Library on Wheels

A brief bit of a conversation with Sam Coglan. Sam is a librarian in the Stratfod area. He grew up in Thunder Bay.

Q: Tell me about your bookmobile program?
Sam: You mention our "bookmobile" and I presume by that you mean PLOW, Public Library On Wheels.

It's really not a bookmobile but more a mobile storytime, our guerilla approach to encouraging family literacy. It stemmed from a realization that many parents may not be book oriented themselves and may have had bad experiences with school and libraries. The people who started PLOW got to thinking that children of these types of parents would never have any positive exposure to reading, or very few exposures, nothing like those of us lucky enough to be born into reading families.

So, we use the van to take storytime out to places around the community. We've read the literature and looked at the stats and saw the corelation between economic status and literacy and we decided PLOW would target places and events that may be attended by a fair number of lower income families, simply because these might include a higher percentage of non-reading families.

We've been very blest at having a wonderful coordinator for this program, Trish MacGregor who is a trained ECE but who also has love of what she is doing that is contagious and serves to capture the attention of children in parks, in the mall, at events.

It's really a cool program and I feel lucky to have come to work at the library that developed it (in conjunction with a couple neighbour libraries).

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