Access to books is essential to building a reliable resource grid for Arkansas children and families. Realized through a SOAR (Successful Outcomes for Arkansas Readers) grant through the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Morrilton Mobile Library was born. The library’s mission is to provide convenient access to books for its students.

Lora Hendrix, the associate superintendent of schools for the South Conway County School District (SCCSD), tells us more about this new initiative.

Morrilton Mobile Library (Photo credit: South Conway County School District)
Photo Credit: South Conway County School District

How was the Morrilton Mobile Library created?

The Morrilton Mobile Library was made possible through an Arkansas Department of Education SOAR grant, which also helped provide reading interventionists, assessments, curriculum and intervention tools. The school bus already belonged to the SCCSD, but the grant enabled us to install a branded wrap on the bus and purchase shelving and approximately 2,000 books. The Morrilton Mobile Library now looks like a brand new bus and is ready to go out and serve our community.

What kinds of books are available?

We have nearly 2,000 books for kids ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. We asked our five campus librarians for a list of at least 20 of their most popular books for student reading. From there, we did our best to purchase 5-10 copies of each. We even have several book series for students to be able to read an entire series over the summer. These books are available to any SCCSD student.

Why is the Morrilton Mobile Library so important?

Our leadership team had several brainstorming meetings and discussions about the best way to get children in our community excited about reading. Ultimately, we thought this was the best way to get students to read during school breaks because it is a fun and exciting way to bring our books directly to families throughout the district at various community locations and events. So far this summer, we have made several stops across our community, including coffee shops, City Hall, Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, fast food restaurants, and even neighborhoods.

What does this project mean for the community?

We know that reading positively impacts academic achievement, student learning, vocabulary, writing skills, and reading ability. So, providing access to quality reading materials is an excellent opportunity for our families. The Mobile Library helps remove barriers, such as the cost of purchasing multiple books, traveling to public libraries, and extended check-out times so that children can take their time and enjoy reading over the summer and holidays.

How will people know where to find it?

Locations are shared on the South Conway County School District’s social media pages — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — as well as Thrillshare Live Feed.