When Melissa Cornelius learned the summer bookmobile program wouldn’t be traveling around the Bradford community this summer because of funding shortages, she offered to help.
Cornelius, who is the librarian at the School Street Elementary School, offered to open the facility to children in the community from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays to borrow their favorite books. The facility will be open again July 18, 25 and Aug. 1 during the same hours for children of all ages to borrow books, as well as use the computer system for Imagine Math programs or Accelerated Reading tests.
“I was asked if I could come and work during summer school, and I thought if I’m going to be here why can’t I have the library open for anybody who wants to come in,” she said in explaining how the book borrowing program came about on Wednesdays. “We have some 20,000 books sitting here waiting for somebody to come and read them.”
Cornelius said the program is similar to the book mobile program in that anyone can borrow books, read them and return them to the school, or any other school in the district.
“Anybody can come and check them out,” Cornelius reiterated. “I’ve told the kids if they have older brothers and sisters to bring them in because I have novels that are for” more mature readers. Conversely, the library also has picture books for much younger children.
“I tell the kids you’re so lucky you’re here because usually the more popular books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” are checked out (during the school year), because people have them, but they’re all here right now,” Cornelius said of the popular book series.
A child named Shavia, who had three books she planned to check out at the desk, said she found several fiction and nonfiction books she planned to read when she got home.
“I got books about other types of animals, like dog breeds and horses,” she said. Her friend chimed in, “I actually got a chapter book called ‘The Boxcar Children,’” while holding the books in her arms.
School Street Principal Sarah Tingley said the bookmobile was discontinued this year as funding through the America Reads Challenge grant, which funded it in the past, was not available this year.
Tingley said she was glad that Cornelius offered to help this year as it will keep a number of children reading this summer.
“She’s a very nice librarian,” Tingley added with a smile.