New Little Free Library Established by Cobb Collaborative Partners at Tapp Middle School
Two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.
One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase access to books, especially at home and in their native language. Cobb Collaborative is dedicated to the process of making that happen. In partnership with Cobb County School Psychological Services Department, the Collaborative is leading an initiative to increase access to books in Cobb through Little Free Lending Libraries. The Little Free Library (LFL) is a nonprofit dedicated to putting books in the hands of children and adults in communities around the world. The book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing access and encouraging a love of reading. They operate under the “Take One, Leave One” theory.
As the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, the Cobb Collaborative works to improve third-grade reading levels in Cobb County. Data reveals that children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school—paving the way to higher education, better employment opportunities, and improved health outcomes. In partnership with these efforts, the Cobb County School Psychologists department supports the learning, development, and well-being of all students.
With a goal of installing 21 libraries in 2021, the Collaborative’s first LFL was officially dedicated on April 18 at Tapp Middle School. Officials from the City of Powder Springs attended, including Mayor Al Thurman, Council members Patrick Bordelon, Doris Dawkins, Henry Lust, and Patricia Wisdom.
Nine of the Little Free Libraries are being built by Cobb County School District’s CTAE students, including the library at Tapp. The inaugural library was made even more personalized by the students with an addition of the Tapp tiger mascot.
More libraries are in progress for installations across the county. This is a quintessential collaborative effort, with additional partners like United Way of Greater Atlanta Northwest Region funding LFLs in Austell and Marietta and Girl Scout troops building LFLs as well.
“We are beyond thrilled to serve as the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and to build a partnership of engaged stakeholders in order to move the needle on access to reading materials in our community. There is a direct link between reading skills and high school graduation rates, which of course leads directly to employment opportunities, economic stability and ultimately, the health of our communities,” stated Irene Barton, Executive Director of the Cobb Collaborative. “It’s not an exaggeration to note that proficient readers become engaged citizens,” she added.
Christy Jaffe, Supervisor of CCSD School Psychologists, noted the benefits of reading together throughout all stages of development for both children and caregivers. “Even if your child is too old to be “read to,” seeing a parent or caregiver pick up a newspaper, a book, article, or other material sends the signal that this is important to our family. And ultimately, reading helps children and youth relate to their community and the world around them.”
Dr. Alvin Thomas, Principal of Tapp Middle School, officially cut the ribbon to open the LFL and commented how much he was looking forward to seeing students, families and community members using the library. “We’re part of the community, so we hope people will use this great resource, particularly this summer when the school doors will be closed, but our campus will still be accessible to all.”
For more information about the Little Free Library program, contact Irene Barton, Executive Director, at [email protected]orative.org.
Cobb Collaborative is a nonprofit organization in Cobb County seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. To learn more, visit our website.
Irene M. Barton