On a hot summer day, four Harlingen CISD Librarians settle in shaded areas outside elementary campuses and set up a table filled with a variety of literature. In front, they place a sign that reads “Free Books.”
HCISD started Books 2 Go about three years ago. The program consists of a small group of school librarians traveling around town encouraging the love of reading by distributing books and providing reading activities to elementary students in the Harlingen community.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide our kids with enough reading material to keep them reading over the summertime because many kids might not have access to reading materials,” said Treasure Hills Elementary Library Media Specialist Sherilyn Durham.
This summer, they will be setting up free book tables from June 6-17 and again from August 1-12.
“We are also doing reading logs and we give little prizes to the kids that bring back a reading log,” said Vela Middle School Library Media Specialist, Dina Cano. “Yesterday we got a lot of kids who brought back their logs. They were very good about keeping up with them. My little librarian heart was happy.”
Every week they stop at all 17 elementary campuses in the district and have also made a few other stops in between their rounds.
“Wherever we see kids from our schools we are stopping and distributing books,” said Durham.“Earlier this week, we were at Bonham and they had a Boys and Girls Club event nearby, so we stopped by and gave the leader about 40 books to pass out to the kids.”
The books provided through the Books 2 Go program do not have to be checked in or out. They are given out as gifts. These books are donations provided by South Texas Literacy Coalition and United Way.
“We also get a lot of books as donations from parents,” said Cano. “So we have been very lucky that there is a good reading community here in town to help out.”
As the second week of June comes to an end, the number of children that are stopping by to pick up free books has diminished.
Library Media Specialists hope to see more children stop by to pick up books at their next two-week event, which will take place in August. They hope to coordinate with schools to do a story time and provide a few other activities that they couldn’t do outdoors in the first two weeks.
High school-level literature is also available for any students in the upper grades who might be interested.
Below is the August Books 2 Go Schedule: