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May 10

Getting books into the hands of children – what the library is doing to help

Posted on May 10, 2015 at 12:15 am by Clay Curtin

According to a recent report from Unite for Literacy, there are book deserts in Menlo Park. In census tract 6117, which covers the Belle Haven neighborhood, only 7 percent of the households have more than 100 books. The library’s Belle Haven branch has been working for several years to increase that percentage through its participation in Reading is Fundamental. RIF is the nation’s oldest and largest children’s and family literacy organization. Serving children and families in underserved communities in the U.S., RIF gives children the opportunity to choose and own books. The staff at Belle Haven Branch Library selects materials that will be part of the twice-a-year RIF giveaways based on their knowledge of community needs and interests. The giveaways take place in the library and the children have the pleasure of choosing their own book to take home and make part of their family library. Unite for Literacy looked at the number of books in fourth graders’ homes, community income, ethnicity, geography, and home language data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the American Community Survey. They performed a statistical analysis of that data and produced the map showing the estimated percentage of homes with more than 100 books. You can view an interactive version of the Book Desert map.

Book Deserts Map