Books Reclaimed Newspaper Boxes Hit the Streets Promote Summer Literacy in Underserved Lancaster Neighborhoods

Reclaimed Newspaper Boxes Hit the Streets, Promote Summer Literacy in Underserved Lancaster Neighborhoods

Reading is fundamental to educational success. Recent research finds that “children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class” (Evans, Kelley, Sikora, Treiman;2010). Yet this benefit is often unattainable for low income children and youth. One study found that children from middle income homes have 13 books per child on average while in comparison, low income homes only had one book for every 300 children (Neuman and Dickinson, 2006).

The Mix at Arbor Place is fighting the literacy gap by getting books into the hands of disadvantaged families throughout Lancaster City. The project, Turn the Page, places transformed former newspaper boxes throughout Lancaster City to act as Little Free Libraries. These libraries are strategically placed in areas of the city where there is a limited access to books. Boxes are expected to be installed during the second week of June.

“As a community we must address literacy gaps, there are too many people who don’t have access to high quality books” says Assistant Executive Director Jeremy Raff. “We want to enable all children especially to experience the joy of reading over the summer months. The easiest way to do that is to meet them where they are and get books in their hands.”

Each Little Free Library includes original artwork created to highlight a different multicultural hero. Artist renditions were completed by local artists who all generously donated their time to create truly unique work. The subjects of the artwork include Cesar Chavez, Nina Simone, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Arthur Ashe, W.E.B. DuBois, Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. The Mix hopes to highlight even more leaders in years to come.

Turn the Page is generously supported by Haurora and Signarama. Artists who made this project possible include Ophelia Chambliss, Charles Beyl, Kimberly Stamm, Rachel Laughman, Zipporah Coleman, Symone Saunders, Taje Martin, Yilian Rodriguez, Kerly Crespo, and Jazmine Rivera.