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We Still Believe

hank you to the Reading Nation Waterfall Project

Today we say thank you to the Reading Nation Waterfall Project and their partners for distributing books to our Lumbee Children and other Tribal communities to encourage reading and promote literacy.

On Thursday, the Reading Nation Waterfall team distributed books to children at the Lumbee Tribe Boys & Girls Club. The 3-year program is federally funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Lumbee Tribe is one of five American Indian Tribes included in the grant to support and encourage literacy in Native communities around the nation.

Dr. Anthony Chow, director of the San José State University School of Information, and Reading Nation Waterfall received the $1.4 million grant to foster Native American literacy. Chow said the program is focusing on early children’s literacy and increasing the relevance of libraries. “We are here at the Lumbee Tribe Boys & Girls Club to get books into the hands of children,” said Chow. “In the end, it is about focusing our resources to ensure that children build a love of reading and increase the convenience and equity of access to those children. We find that your reading must be grade equivalent at third grade and children that are not at that level by third grade really have a hard time with academic performance,” said Chow.

The other partners in the project include the Robeson County Public Library, UNC Pembroke, Head Start and the Public Schools of Robeson County. In addition to books, the children also received a personal book library box. Chow said the group is partnering with National Little Free Library Organization to place little free libraries in the local Boys & Girls clubs, Head Starts, and elementary schools and stocking them with brand new books every week all in an effort to increase both access to the books and convenience to the books. Tammy Maynor, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Lumbee Tribe, said the project will make a difference for children in the area of literacy. “The smile on the faces of both the parents and the children said it all. We know that books are expensive and this program will put new free books in our community, every week for our children,” said Maynor.

The program has been working with tribal librarians to systematically address barriers to access reading resources and libraries, while also providing culturally relevant programs. Katie Fountain, Director of the Robeson County Public Library read books to the children during the book giveaway and also dressed up as Petunia the Unicorn mascot from the Robeson County Library. “We have 7 wonderful libraries across our county and we are excited that this project is going to increase community outreach, bring more families into our local Pembroke library, as well as our other ones while also increasing our partnership with the Lumbee Tribe long- term," said Fountain.

The five tribal partners in the project are the Crow Tribe of Montana, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and the Santo Domingo Pueblo. Special thanks also to M. Greig Metzger of the Little Free Library for the donation of 250 books for this event.

Books will be distributed each week at several Little Free Library locations including Pembroke Elementary, the Pembroke Boys & Girls Club and several Head Start locations in the Pembroke area. To see video from the distribution visit https://youtu.be/6qkRk66SSfg

For more information or to see how to purchase books and donate directly to one of the tribes, please visit the at https://myreadingnation.com




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