Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – Through a partnership with the City of Lancaster and its Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library, first and third Fridays are more than the start of a weekend for students at Lancaster ISD’s George Washington Carver 6th STEM Learning Center. The students are able to step just outside of the campus to the book mobile to check out books and e-books without actually travelling to the local library.
“We want students to enjoy reading by providing them with opportunities to read for pleasure and interest and not just for an assignment,” Dr. Tonia Howard, Lancaster ISD Executive Director of Bilingual Education and School Improvement said. “This partnership is essential because now the students at Carver have a convenient way to access reading materials on a regular basis.”
The Lancaster Book Mobile Fridays will continue through the month of December and will allow students to check out a new book every two weeks. Additionally, students will have opportunity to learn more about using technology and electronic devices for educational purposes.
Prior to the start of the mobile visits, almost 200 students completed library card applications so that in addition to the school time access, they are able to the access the online e-books service from their home and utilize the physical location at 1700 Veterans Memorial Parkway.
“Everyone was excited to hear about the mobile library. When it actually happened, more students were rushing to the office to pick up library card applications,” George Washington Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center Principal CoSheda Hurd said. “And, the staff was just as eager as the students to see and experience it.”
Hurd said that she too is excited about this opportunity for her students.
“This is something our campus wanted and needed for years because we understand the impact of having books in students’ hands on a frequent basis,” she said.
Carver student Cameron Robinson spent quite some time trying to choose his reading adventure.
“This is my first time ever going to the book mobile and I love it,” he said. “It was like a five star restaurant.”
City of Lancaster Managing Director of Quality Of Life & Cultural Services Sean Johnson is excited about this area of collaboration between the city and the district.
“We were excited to have the chance to fill a need for more library services at the 6th Grade Center and to bring the outreach and mobile services to the campus,” he said. “This lines up with our Village 2020 plan to utilize the library to enhance the efforts that are already in place with the Lancaster ISD STEM program and to help the students check out books, use technology for educational purposes and during the non-school hours. We can replicate the services that the district has in place.”
Lancaster city and school district leaders established the Village 2020 Strategic Partnership in the spring 2016. It is a multifaceted plan aimed to improve opportunities and quality of life in the Lancaster community for future generations. The plan includes goals in 12 categories including quality academics; college and career readiness; socially responsible students; opportunities for civic and community engagement; a connected city in terms of technology among others.
“My hope is that our students will find a renewed desire to read and learn through reading. I hope they will learn, as I did, that reading can ‘take’ them places that they never dreamed of or thought possible,” Hurd said. “As the saying goes, readers are leaders. Our purpose in Lancaster ISD is not only to prepare our students academically, but also to produce future community and world leaders who create learning and growth opportunities for others. Reading gives them the tools for becoming successful and making others successful.”
Dr. Howard agrees.
“I think this is an excellent example of sustaining student success and leaving a lasting legacy. We are providing students with access, tools and habits that they can take with them in the future. I remember, as a child, spending time at the public library with my parents, and it is a tradition that I have continued with my children. Our students need these types of experiences.”