Little Libraries sprouting in Woodstock

Shenandoah County Public Schools and the Town of Woodstock have partnered to launch seven Little Libraries, complete with children’s books.

The Little Libraries are located near apartment complexes where many students live. The Little Libraries will be dedicated at 6 p.m. today with school staff and administrators, town staff and administrators, Woodstock police and fire personnel on hand at each of the locations.

Melissa Dodge, a  first-year reading specialist at W.W. Robinson who was previously a first-grade teacher, said the Little Libraries are all about keeping students reading in the summer months.

“Keep them reading and hopefully get their families involved with literacy as well. We want to build a reading community,” she said.

Research has shown that students who read just 20 minutes per day are exposed to 1.8 million words per year. Dodge said that providing students more opportunities to read beyond the school day will help to increase and enhance their vocabularies exponentially, which results in improved reading and academic skills.

It was the reading specialists at W. W. Robinson who, in a group brainstorming session, came up with the idea after Principal Jennifer Proctor challenged her staff to come up with ways to reach kids and support them in areas where they need help.

Superintendent Mark Johnston said the libraries are important because they bring books closer to the students, so they learn to appreciate and use them more in the home and not just at school.

“These locations are within close proximity to where the students live so they can walk to them from their homes,” Johnston said.  “As a school division, our teachers and staff are dedicated to efforts to increase interest and skill in reading. This was seen as a way to motivate and inspire students while at the same time making access more convenient.”

The Little Libraries project was funded by a $7,700 Moore grant. That paid for six of the libraries, which are stocked with books for different ages. The Town of Woodstock donated about $400 to pay for the seventh.

Town Manager Angela Clem said the libraries allow students to have books and that “We had the opportunity to partner with the school system, the educational system, to provide literacy.”

She added that the staff and reading specialists in the school system perform great work and should be acknowledged for their work.

Woodstock’s Public Works employees helped install the Little Libraries. Anyone wanting to donate a favorite book, new or gently used, can drop off a book at the front office of W.W. Robinson, Dodge said.

Little Library Locations

  • Lakeview Drive near Skyline Terrace Nursing Home
  • Lora Drive
  • Valley Vista Drive near an apartment complex close to the hospital
  • Woodpark Lane
  • E. Reservoir Road
  • Water Street
  • Ox Road