Library Bookmobile offers “Sweet Reads” to the community
For over 50 years, the Boyle County Public Library’s Outreach department has been serving patrons in Danville-Boyle County via the bookmobile and, more recently, the outreach van by making regular visits to a variety of locations including schools, day cares, senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, homebound patrons, county locations, and apartment complexes.
In the summer of 2021 the Library rolled out a new service for the community called “Sweet Reads.” Available through the Lottie Ellis Bookmobile, Sweet Reads is a collection of new and used library materials that can be checked out without a library card. This program is an effort to remove any barriers from children and families being able to have library books in their homes.
The need for the worry-free program became apparent when library staff noticed that some parents were reluctant to get a library card for their children due to concern that the children would not take proper care of the books and they would then have to pay to replace the borrowed items. Since many of the areas that the outreach team serves are on fixed incomes, most would not have extra money to replace lost or damaged books.
In the past, families and children who didn’t have a library card would be unable to check out library materials from the bookmobile. For those patrons, outreach librarians would instead offer a crate of free, uncatalogued books for the children to choose from. The collection, however, was limited and only insured that the children did not go away empty handed. Outreach staff knew that they needed to come up with a better way to meet this need. The Sweet Reads program is more robust than a crate of books, and it offers a greater selection of materials for patrons to choose from. The Sweet Reads collection contains books for all ages, including board books, picture books, chapter books, young adult and adult fiction, and a small selection of non-fiction.
How it works:
When patrons are invited to choose books from the Sweet Reads collection, outreach staff track the books by logging the first name of the patron on an individual chart along with the number of books that they are borrowing. Staff record the number of items returned and the number taken. The books all belong to the Sweet Reads program and are not tied to the library system, so there is no worry about potential fines if an item is not able to be returned. If a child falls in love with a particular title and it doesn’t make its way back to the bookmobile, they will be allowed to keep it permanently while continuing to check out other materials.
Patrons can find the bookmobile and Sweet Reads in Perryville, Junction City, and at numerous locations in Danville.
Why Sweet Reads?
According to the Danville-Boyle Early Childhood Alliance, Boyle County is considered a childcare desert. Because of this, many children in our community do not have access to early literacy opportunities. Additionally, 52.4% of children in Boyle County are not classified as “ready” for kindergarten. The library seeks to help bridge this gap in the community by utilizing new methods that allow families to participate in library services without fear or anxiety. The Sweet Reads program is one such method.
Information about all of the services offered through the outreach department can be found on the Outreach Services page or by calling the library at (859) 238-7323.