For the more than 120 kids at the Carole Robertson
Center in North Lawndale, getting to the library was a difficult
undertaking. That is, until the library came to them.
This month, Books for Kids is opening a new children's
library at the center, located on Ogden Avenue. The library isn't
part of the Chicago Public Library system, but instead was built by
the nonprofit organization Books for Kids, with funding from the
hotel chain Homewood Suites.
"The idea is to put the library where the kids spend their
day. The Chicago one is in a Headstart," says Shawna Doster,
executive director of Books for Kids. "They're a place of safety
and respite for these children who often live in very dismal
This is the first Books for Kids opening in the Chicago
area, and the site was chosen because there's limited access to a
library, Doster says.
The lending library was built in a room in the center, and
was designed by a New York City set design firm. It is filled with
wooden shelves and furniture, and also includes a multicultural
puppet theater and a child-sized cabin.
"The idea is to bring books to life and make children fall
in love with them as well," Doster says.
Teachers and staff at the Robertson Center will staff the
library, with help from community volunteers and local Homewood
employee volunteers. Initially, the library only will be open for
students at the center, but eventually they hope to host family
literacy events for the community, Doster says.
For more information, visit booksforkids.org.
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