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RPL launches ‘Books and Bites’

SALISBURY — Rowan Public Library’s “Stories to Go” bookmobile is ready to hit the road alongside Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Summer Meals Program.

For the past two years, the library has worked in conjunction with the school system to present “Books and Bites,” a combination meals and books program. Each day, the bookmobile will follow district food trucks to select locations and let students browse its hundreds of books. Students have the opportunity the check out one book each week and exchange it later in the summer.

“It’s a great way for us to make sure the kids in the community do have access to food, but it’s also a great way to make sure that kids have access to books,” said Jennifer Nicholson, youth services supervisor for the library.

Participants can also participate in the library’s popular summer reading program by logging reading hours and earning prizes just as if they were coming to a branch location. All Rowan-Salisbury Schools students have a library card connected to their student ID number.

The partnership began in 2016, thanks to a grant from Friends of the Rowan Public Library, which allowed the library to stock the bookmobile with reading material for preschoolers through high schoolers. The grant funded more than 1,300 books, which will be given away throughout the summer at each site.

“Our bookmobile during the school year is primarily for preschool centers,” Nicholson said.

So when the project launched in 2016, the mobile library had mostly picture books — until the grant.

This year, the bookmobile will visit 11 sites throughout the summer, including its usual summer stop at Cleveland Town Hall. According to Nicholson, the mobile targeted areas of the county where it may be more difficult for parents to take their children to the library — because of distance, transportation or time limitations. Some areas of focus include Cleveland and China Grove.

“So this year, we’re actually broadening out and getting more out into Rowan County, which is really exciting,” she said.

Books and Bites launched June 18 and will run until Aug. 17. The program is open to children 3 to 18.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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