(YourDigitalWall Editorial):- Seattle, Washington Apr 27, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – Reading is essential to every child’s learning and development, yet the pandemic has often made access to books even more difficult for many families. Today more than ever, far too many of Seattle’s children live in “book deserts,” in which their access to books may be limited by distance from libraries and bookstores, household income, and more. It’s no wonder that, now more than ever, kids are thirsty for reading. In response, the award-winning local children’s literacy organization Page Ahead announces “Book Oasis”–a new campaign to build, stock, and maintain Little Free Libraries for kids living in book deserts in the Seattle area.
A recipient of a 2021 Library of Congress State Literacy Award, Page Ahead has dedicated itself to the building and maintenance of dozens of Book Oasis Libraries in Seattle neighborhoods where there are currently few or no affordable or free book-access options available. As a pint-sized, community-based free lending library, a Book Oasis provides a wonderful micro-library of children’s books. Each Oasis may be located in front of a private home or business–yet the books inside belong to everyone.
What Sets Book Oasis Little Libraries Apart
The Book Oasis Little Free Library locations created by Page Ahead will be a striking and unique combination of art and utility. As designed by architect Peter Sydloski-Tesch from Perkins & Will, and built by contractors Lease Crutcher Lewis and DPR Construction (which donated both labor and materials), each Book Oasis is a beautifully organic mini-structure with a distinctive blue roof and shelves specially created to hold wider picture books and other titles, on multiple shelves and levels securely protected from the elements. The lower shelves were also carefully designed to be easily within reach for small children to access.
“Every desert needs an oasis. With help from community hosts across Seattle, we can take a step toward providing better, more accessible 24/7 free book access to kids in need in Seattle, one Book Oasis Library at a time,” comments Susan Dibble, executive director at Page Ahead.
Connecting Communities and Neighborhoods – One Book Oasis at a Time
Book Oasis Little Library Locations are currently going up around Seattle, with approximately 20 Book Oases live now, and several more to come. Current Book Oasis Little Libraries can be found in the High Point, Broadview, Lake City, Northgate, and Olympic Hills neighborhoods, with more to follow in Rainier Beach, Rainier Vista, South Beacon Hill, and beyond.
Current Book Oasis locations include the following:
- SW Holly St and 32nd Ave SW, Seattle 98126 (High Point) Location: Next to park bench in High Point
- SW Bataan St and High Point Dr SW, Seattle 98126 (High Point) Location: Bataan Park in High Point
- High Point Dr SW and 30th Ave SW, Seattle 98126 (High Point) Location: Next to big pond in High Point
- 13047 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle 98133 (Broadview) Location: Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
- 2828 NE 127th St, Seattle 98125 (Lake City) Location: ReWA Early Learning Center
- 10510 Stone Ave N, Seattle 98133 (Northgate/99N) Location: Epic Life Church
- 13516 20th Ave NE, Seattle 98125 (Olympic Hills) Location: Private homeowner property
FURTHER PRESS OPPORTUNITIES (Upcoming Book Oasis Ribbon-Cutting Events):
- Tuesday, 5/11, 4:00 p.m. Bella B Mobile Home Park. 1333 N. 125th St., Seattle 98133 (Haller Lake neighborhood).
- Wednesday, 5/12, 10 a.m. Epic Life Church. 10510 Stone Ave N., Seattle 98133 (Northgate/99N neighborhood).
- Thursday, 5/13 4:00 p.m. Private residence location: 4604 S Austin St., Seattle 98118 (Rainier Valley neighborhood).
An Ongoing Supply of Children’s Books
Many Little Free Libraries run out of children’s books quickly. To make sure that doesn’t happen, once each Book Oasis Little Free Library is created, children’s books will be added and regularly restocked to each location on an ongoing basis by Page Ahead.
Helping Children Maintain Reading Skills in Crucial Times
It’s been well documented that children in “book deserts” have access to fewer words, books, and stories–not just due to household income, but because these areas may have fewer bookstores, libraries, or other affordable book access points. And the fewer books young children see prior to enrolling in school, the less prepared they are to learn once they get there. This trend continues once kids are in school, as kids living in book deserts are more likely to fall behind further each summer while schools are closed–and this inequity has only been exacerbated by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bring a Book Oasis to Your Neighborhood
To bring Book Oasis to as many local neighborhoods as possible, Page Ahead is seeking hosts and sponsors! If you’d like to host a Book Oasis outside your home or place of business, or support the effort with a sponsorship or in-kind donation, please contact Project Manager Kim Ferse at [email protected] to explore these opportunities. Your neighborhood will thank you!
About Page Ahead
As the sole 2021 Washington state recipient of a prestigious Library of Congress State Literacy Award, Page Ahead provides new books and develops reading activities that empower at-risk children.
Page Ahead has grown from a King County book giveaway project to the leading provider of children’s books and literacy services in the state, currently serving more than 17,000 students in eighteen counties, and a top-ranked early childhood education program nationwide on Charity Navigator (where it also has a four-star rating). Since 1990 Page Ahead has placed more than 3.5 million new books to more than 950,000 children through collaborations with schools, social service agencies, preschools, and early childhood programs across Washington State.
Learn more about the Book Oasis Project at http://www.pageahead.org/COVID-19%20Response%20Projects.php, or learn more about Page Ahead at http://www.pageahead.org/. Meanwhile, follow and support Page Ahead on social media via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pageahead), Twitter (https://twitter.com/Page_Ahead_), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/page_ahead_/?ref=badge), and YouTube (###).