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Bookmobile going to eight summer meal sites

Dollar General grant

In May, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded the Friends of Rowan Public Library a $3,000 grant to support summer literacy through the library’s new Books & Bites Summer Reading Outreach Program.

This local grant award is part of more than $7.1 million in grants awarded to more than 900 schools, nonprofits and organizations across the 43 states Dollar General serves. The Friends of Rowan Public Library is one of 20 non-profit organizations based in N.C. to be awarded a Dollar General literacy grant.

“We are honored to receive the Dollar General grant and appreciate their generosity.” said Sammie Hinshaw, incoming president of Friends of Rowan Public Library. “This funding will greatly enhance the library’s newest outreach program, Books & Bites, and will benefit school children throughout Rowan County.”

The Friends of Rowan Public Library works to support the mission and services of the Rowan Public Library by providing financial support and community awareness.

“The Friends of RPL have been supporting the library for over 60 years. Without their support, many of the programs we offer and take for granted would simply not be possible “ sid Melissa Oleen, library services manager at RPL. “Receiving the Dollar General grant is another wonderful way in which Friends have increased the value of having a Rowan Public Library card. There is no cost to signing up for a library card and the free access to information, print or digital, that it provides is amazing.”

Rowan Public Library is taking it to the streets. The library’s Outreach Services Division is sending the Preschool Stories To Go bookmobile to eight locations around Rowan County to offer library services, programming and summer reading activities.

Loaded with a new collection of materials for elementary to high school readers, the bookmobile will reconnect with some of its former patrons in a new way.

Called Books & Bites, the new weekly program is a collaboration between Rowan Public Library and Rowan-Salisbury School – School Nutrition Summer Meals Program. The Summer Meals Program reaches a large number of children around the county. Working with them, library staff identified seven meal sites at which to offer the program. The eighth site is not a meal site but Cleveland Town Hall, where the library has offered its summer reading program for a number of years.

Books & Bites lets children and teens attend a short program and check out books after they have eaten. Students can also participate in the library’s summer reading program by logging reading hours and earning prizes just as if they were coming to a branch location.

A Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant, awarded to Friends of Rowan Public Library, has provided the funding to purchase more than 1,300 books to be given away as part of the program.

“For many children, going to the library is not as easy as it sounds. Work schedules and limited gas budgets can make it hard for children to visit us. It is my hope that this program will allow a lot of kids to have access to reading materials during the summer that they otherwise would not.” said Melissa Oleen, library services manager. “No one in the county has the collection we have and this is one more way we can make it available to children.”

An added benefit of the program has already occurred as children and adults are returning library books to the bookmobile and saving themselves a trip to town.

Thanks to the Rowan One Card, children enrolled with RSS now have library cards and can take advantage of Books & Bites even if they have never visited the library in person.

Children ages 3-18 can participate in Books & Bites. This is the same age range served by the RSS Summer Meals Program. Books & Bites will be offered Tuesday through Friday, now through July 30, the same seven-week period the library offers its summer reading program.

Books & Bites 2016 locations are

  • Rowan County Housing Authority’s Running Brook Community Center at 2200 Running Brook Drive, Kannapolis;
  • East Lafayette location, 1042 E. Lafayette St.;
  • Pearl Street Apartments at the intersection of Pearl Street and Morlan Park Road;
  • Matika Mobile Home Park at the intersection of Airport Road and Sarah Ellen Lane;
  • Oak Haven Mobile Home Park at 775 Airport Road;
  • RSS Mobile Meal sites at 140 Titan Drive, Salisbury, and at the intersection of Needmore Road and Erwin Temple Church Road, Woodleaf;
  • Cleveland Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., Cleveland.

According to Oleen, site selection considerations included distance from a library, the ability to serve more than one site per day, meal site attendance and whether a location was offering fee-based summer programs.

“I am very proud of the enthusiasm with which our outreach staff has embraced this program. They have been working hard to prepare for Books & Bites and make it a positive experience for the children,” said Jane Welch, outreach services supervisor for RPL.

For more information about Books & Bites and the program schedule, contact Melissa Oleen at 704-216-8245. For more information about Rowan-Salisbury Schools – School Nutrition Summer Meals Program, contact Meredith Honeycutt at 704-630-6047.

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