My interest in improving the reading skills of disadvantaged youth led me to research different ways that I could get involved and take action to help end youth illiteracy. After talking with local organizations, I became informed that many of the youth in afterschool programs do not have adequate access to books because their school libraries are closed. Furthermore, most of the afterschool programs do not have their own libraries because they operate in shared areas of the schools such as gyms, cafeterias, and borrowed classrooms. To solve this problem, I decided to create “Rolling Libraries 4 Kids” that consist of a library style book cart containing 200-400 quality books, which can be easily moved between the areas used by the program and stored securely with their other supplies when they are not in session. Seeing the excitement of the youth receiving the 20 “Rolling Libraries 4 Kids” I have already put in place made me want find other afterschool programs where I could help disadvantaged youth improve their reading skills. I contacted the organization AYS, Inc. and learned that they administer 38 different afterschool programs and in many of these locations the youths’ reading levels are very low and where these libraries would be an extremely valuable resource.
To create a “Rolling Library 4 Kids” I collect books and then label them with a color coding system that indicates the books’ reading levels. I also put a book plate inside the books’ cover, which contain contact information, so the programs know how to reach me. On the cart I attach signs that have my project's logo and recognize the people and organizations that have helped me be able to provide “Rolling Libraries 4 Kids” to afterschool programs in Indiana.