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Feeding minds with free books

Library and community partners distribute more than 900 books to kids

With COVID-19 putting schools on hold and keeping big public gatherings off limits, Elkhart Public Library staff went into the community to serve those with a need for reads.

Through the Free Books to Feed Minds giveaways, EPL and several community partners – Elkhart Rotary Club, Friends of the Elkhart Public Library, Read United, and Elkhart Community Schools – cooperated to give away more than 900 books through a series of events in late spring and early summer.

Book giveaways took place at Church Community Services, Elkhart Community Schools’ summer meal program sites, the Boys and Girls Club at Beardsley Elementary, and Tolson Center.

The library is just as committed to getting books into the hands of kids through circulation at the library as it is to also giving them a book to have ownership of.

“For us it’s really important for kids to have books in the home,” said Jill Yoder, community engagement coordinator for EPL.

“These books are theirs to keep. They don’t have to worry about returning them and it’s something they can read over and over again.”

As part of its current strategic plan, Elkhart Public Library has a goal to make sure every child locally is ready to read and succeed by Grade 3, setting the stage for a lifelong love of reading.