The “Read Peoria” initiative has partnered with Peoria Public Schools to make books available to primary school students.
Ribbon cuttings were held Friday at 14 PPS schools to open Free Little Libraries. Children do not have to be a student at a specific school to get a free book from the small libraries located outside the schools.
The effort is part of PPS’ goal of ensuring all students are reading at grade level by third grade.
“Anyone in the community can come up to the closest primary school at any time, take a book, donate a book, keep it if you want. It doesn’t matter,” said Nicole Wood, Executive Director of Primary Education at PPS.
One such ribbon cutting took place at Hines School where the school’s “adopter,” Stacy Hardin of the Book Rack, filled the little library there with books.
Hardin says reading is vital for young children.
“It increases your intelligence. It makes it better for you to get a good job when you get older. You’re more successful in school,” Hardin said.
Hardin hopes the added convenience of the Free Little Libraries will spur students’ interest in reading.
“Not everyone can make it to the Peoria Public Library, it’s difficult sometimes for some people to get there,” Hardin said. “Having (books) accessible at their school is going to make a huge difference in how kids get their hands on books.”
The Free Little Libraries were designed and built by students at the Woodruff Career and Technical Center.