“If kids can’t come to the library, then we help bring the library to them,” Betsey Hamlet said as she presented a $3,000 check from Friends of the Jackson County Public Library (FOJCPL) to the Reading Rover Bookmobile program.
Hamlet, FOJCPL second vice president, delivered the check to Reading Rover outreach services librarian Carol Grise and driver Joan Lackey during the bookmobile’s recent Jackson County visit. Reading Rover, a cooperative project with Fontana Regional Library and Smart Start/Region A Partnership for Children, serves 28 child care centers and family child care homes in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary.
The bookmobile has been on the road since 1999 with Lackey as its original and long-term driver.
“Rover’s mission on the road is to get children reading at a young age and make it fun for them,” said Lackey, who delights in finding just the right book for each child. “The little ones love our storytelling time, too, and while it’s fun first, it also promotes the love of reading, increases their vocabulary and improves their language skills.”
“Friends of the Jackson County Public Library’s goal is to keep Reading Rover on the road,” said Hamlet. “We know each year it becomes more difficult ... what with the rising costs of diesel fuel and vehicle maintenance. To give you an example, Rover’s oil pump just went out and that’s not cheap to replace.”
Contributions to Rover also help fund the rising cost of library books and educational materials, said Grise. In addition to books, Rover is equipped with puzzles, music, puppets, DVDs, games and storytelling kits.
Individual and group tax-deductible contributions may be sent to Reading Rover, Fontana Regional Library 33 Fryemont St. Bryson City, NC 28713.