Araceli Bateman (Step Forward volunteer), Brenda Brantley (BPCC’s Dean of Learning Resources), Laura Alderman (Executive Director, Step Forward), Segann March (Community Engagement Coordinator, Step Forward), and cutting the ribbon is Janice Williams (Principal, Meadowview Elementary School)

Bossier Parish Community College and Step Forward of North Louisiana believe that access to books matters and have partnered to create a Little Free Library for the students of Meadowview Elementary School in Bossier City.

Late last year, Step Forward’s Laura Alderman invited BPCC’s Division of Learning Resources to partner in a collaborative effort designed to build home libraries for young readers in Northwest Louisiana. Three ladies then met to develop a strategy for moving toward that vision—Araceli Bateman (Step Forward Volunteer), Brenda Brantley (BPCC’s Dean of Learning Resources), and Segann March (Community Engagement Coordinator, Step Forward). From that meeting came the idea of a Little Free Library at Meadowview Elementary School and thus far more than 250 new and gently-used books for K-5 school-aged children have been donated.

One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61% of low-income families do not have any books for their kids at home. The Little Free Library plays an essential role by providing access to books and encouraging a love of reading in homes where books are scarce.

“Between 65 and 70 percent of NWLA school-age students come from socioeconomically disadvantaged families,” shared Laura Alderman, Step Forward’s Executive Director. “For these families, books may well be a luxury item; yet we know that having a home library is a critical factor in reading success. Step Forward works to eliminate such disparities by encouraging collaborative projects such as the Meadowview Little Free Library. Together with partners such as Bossier Parish Community College, Caddo Career and Technology Center, Barnes and Noble, Bossier Parish Libraries, and Bossier Parish Schools, we are working to ensure success for every child.”

Janice Williams, principal of Meadowview Elementary School, added, “Since the LFL has been at Meadowview, it is amazing to see how the students’ eyes beam when they see the books. Every morning, a group of students converges in the library to inspect the latest additions. It is truly a joy for the students to have books of their own to carry home to read and enjoy.”

For more information on how you can contribute to the Little Free Library at Meadowview Elementary School, contact Brenda Brantley at bbrantley@bpcc.edu or Janice Williams at janice.williams@bossierschools.org.