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More 'little libraries' coming to Salt Lake City neighborhoods

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 09, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — The perfect morning for 7-year-old Blakely Penman and her sister, 5-year-old Baker, includes putting on a pretty outfit and reading their favorite books.

"Of course they were Fancy Nancy books because I love Fancy Nancy," Blakely said.

The morning becomes even better when their mom Alisha reads with them.

"If I mess up with the words, she can help me redo it," Blakely said.

It's been important to Alisha to teach her kids to read from a young age. She says it helps with their confidence and keeps their attention away from devices.

"When my littler ones were young, we could spell words to each other when we didn't want them to know what we were saying, but then they think it's really cool when they finally pick up on what we're spelling," Alisha said.

The Penman family is now lucky enough to have a nook of wonder built right outside their home. Their front yard has a "Read and Succeed" library from Kids Read Salt Lake, where kids from the neighborhood can borrow and read first-grade through sixth-grade level books all year long.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to have a library!'" Blakely said.

"It's really fun when we're inside looking out the window and we see a neighbor kid come and get a book out or bring a book back," Alisha said.

The Penmans' neighborhood is one of five new library locations. Another is at the Guadalupe School in Rose Park. The CEO and founder of Kids Read Salt Lake, Lynda Brown, says her mission is to help increase children's literacy levels — especially in Title One school boundaries.

"We want to level the playing field for all children to have access to books in their own neighborhood so they don't have to worry about: does an adult have time to take them to a library?" Brown said.

Kids Read Salt Lake currently has 75 libraries around the valley. Their goal is 106. Right now they're looking for children's book donations to fill up libraries for the summer.

"It's not just our program; it's a community program, and we want everyone to help and participate," Brown said.

She said she wants every kid to experience the joy of flipping through the pages of an exciting book. Blakely and Baker want every kid to love reading as much as they do.

"I want people to look around and live a world of love and dwell on possibility," Brown said.

To learn more about donating books or having a library in your neighborhood you can visit the Kids Read Salt Lake website.