The Book Buggy: Better than the Ice Cream Truck!

Posted In: Your Library, Youth and Families, Guest Contributors, Series
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By Marilyn Hage, Mobile Services Children's Librarian

This post is part of the series Giving Back with Community Outreach Programs.

Join the conversation: #PrattOutreach

As I travel to every corner of Baltimore in the passenger seat of the Book Buggy, I never get tired of observing people doing double-takes and smiling when they spot our colorful bookmobile. I have been the librarian for the Book Buggy, Pratt’s early literacy bookmobile, since it first took to the streets in the fall of 2001. We have traveled to Head Start sites and other childcare centers throughout Baltimore, bringing the library experience to children ages five and under.

Book Buggy
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My job is possibly the most fun and rewarding job at Pratt. How great is it to be greeted by excited, happy three-year-olds every time I show up? After enjoying a storytime in their classroom, the little ones can’t wait to come out to the Book Buggy to look at books and perhaps choose one or two to check out using their brand new First Card. (At least one youngster thinks it’s his very own credit card.)

Book Buggy
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Afternoons, when the children are in nap time dreamland, the teachers have the Book Buggy to themselves. This is their chance to pick out books for their classrooms, stocking up on material for their upcoming teaching units with themes like transportation, the five senses, farm animals, and so on. It’s always nice to hear comments such as "I’m so glad you come here—it saves me a trip to the library."

Book Buggy
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Currently, the Book Buggy travels to childcare centers and WIC Clinics in high risk areas of Baltimore, providing early literacy outreach to communities in need. Nonetheless, being a mobile public library, everyone is welcome to pay us a visit, wherever we may be parked.

Although many children think we’re the ice cream truck the first time they see us, they are never disappointed when they hop aboard and see all the treasures inside: books galore, CDs and DVDs, kids' magazines, and computers to play games. One adult, however, was a bit disappointed when he poked his head in and said, "Oh, books... I thought you had ice cream."

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