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Pryor teachers start first mobile library to connect students with books during summer break

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 07:13:34-04

PRYOR, Okla. -- Two teachers are spending their summer break getting a new project off the ground to help students. 

Connie Melton, a media specialist at Pryor Junior High, and Robert Beattie, a third grade teacher, launched a mobile library this summer so that local children could have access to books during the break. 

"Just getting books in kids' hands is our main priority right now," Melton said. 

She and Beattie asked other teachers to donate books to the cause before the end of the school year. 

"We put out an email, and the next thing you know, we had books everywhere and had to figure out how to haul them around and get them there," Beattie said. "We set up a time and just went for it." 

They decided to set up their mobile library every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Bobby Buck Memorial Park, located at 2nd and Edith in Pryor. They plan to keep their giveaway going until July 21, which is two weeks before the new school year starts. 

Melton and Beattie said they wondered if any kids would stop by and take books home when they first set up the mobile library last week. They said they were pleasantly surprised when about a dozen kids showed up. 

"Even if only one shows up, though, it's worth it," Beattie said. "We get to read. We get to talk to that child. We get to put a book in their hands, and they get to either take it home or just sit here and read with us, whichever they want to do." 

"We don't make them take a test. We don't make them do a project. We're just letting them read," Melton said. "We want the love of reading to grow in every one of these children." 

They also hope the mobile library will allow students to maintain their reading levels through the summer break when they have more free time to do other things. 

"I can see a difference on those who had read over the summer and those who had not, so it does make a difference," Beattie said. "We should be reading all the time and as often as we can." 

Seven-year-old Hailey Stimpson, who will soon be in first grade, stopped by the park with her parents to read with the teachers Wednesday and ended up taking home four books. 

"I like reading," Stimpson said, "because it's so fun, and you can get smarter every time you try to read." 

Whether the kids return the books they take home does not make much of a difference to Melton. 

"If a child comes and gets a book and it doesn't come back, it's okay," Melton said. "At least they have a book at home. It might be the only book they have, so it's worth it." 

Melton and Beattie are asking for more donations of books. Any and all donations should be dropped off every Wednesday morning at Bobby Buck Memorial Park.