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Providence Community Library Takes Learning on the Road to Schools and Recreation Centers with “Summer Reading in the Schoolyard”

Providence Community Library’s (PCL’s) big, red mobile library will become a familiar sight in the city this summer. Starting June 27, the bus will make weekly visits to ten elementary schools and provide library services at a number of summer and sports day camps operated by the City’s Recreation Department. The project, called Summer Reading in the Schoolyard, runs in addition to PCL’s regular, in-library Summer Reading Program. It is funded by a generous, $89,000 renewable grant from United Way of Rhode Island and is designed to reach out to school students and encourage them to read every day, even outdoors at summer camp.


School visits take place mornings (9:00A.M.-11:30A.M.) and afternoons (2:00P.M- 4:30P.M.) on a weekly schedule:

  • Monday:
    • Asa Messer Elementary(A.M)
    • William d’Abate Elementary (P.M)
  • Tuesday:
    • Leviton Dual Language (A.M)
    • Robert F. Kennedy Elementary (P.M)
  • Wednesday:
    • Young & Woods Elementary (A.M)
    • Reservoir Avenue Elementary (P.M)
  • Thursday:
    • Frank D. Spaziano Elementary (A.M)
    • George J. West Elementary School (P.M.)
  • Friday
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary (A.M.)
    • Harry Kizirian Elementary (P.M.)

The mobile library carries 4,000 popular books for youth readers and is equipped with a sound system, shade tents, tables and chairs, “life-size” board games, mobile hot spots for WiFi access and a number of computers. Participating children will be able to access free e-books on electronic devices and new, READsquared software will track how students invest their daily reading time. The mobile library will be managed by a dedicated children’s specialist assisted by other PCL staff and college age youth interns. Providence elementary school classroom teachers and math coaches will provide hands-on math activities at each school site.

Youth up to age 18 who visit the mobile library, either independently or with their families, will qualify for a free breakfast at the morning school sites (9:00 – 10:00) and a free lunch at the afternoon school sites (1:30 – 2:30) from July 5 to August 19 as part of the City of Providence’s Summer Meals Program.

PCL has issued hundreds of new PCL library cards to elementary school students who will be using the bus over the summer. PCL, Providence Public School District and Mayor Jorge Elorza recently joined the ConnectED Library Challenge, a national initiative launched in 2015 by the White House, to provide every student in a public school with a library card.

“The mobile library provides an exciting opportunity for the library, the schools and the recreation department to work together to reach more students” said Cheryl Space, PCL’s Youth Services Coordinator. “The project directly supports the Mayor’s summer learning initiative and, by issuing library cards to all students and arranging library visits for their classes, we are encouraging children to stay involved with their local library.”

PCL and PPSD’s Office of Research, Planning and Accountability will measure the effectiveness of the mobile library services by analyzing literacy testing results from spring and fall 2016 to determine if students who have read 20 minutes a day, five days a week, throughout the summer have maintained or added to their reading skills over the summer months.

For more information about “Summer Reading in the Schoolyard” as well as PCL’s regular, in-house Summer Reading Program, visit www.provcomlib.org.


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