Head Start supports bookmobile drive
— Every penny counts in the Cecil County Public Library’s quest for a new bookmobile.
So when a group of young readers at the Head Start on Fletchwood Road in Elkton approached bookmobile operator Arne Anderson with their contribution, he was touched.
“It’s a wonderful donation and I was really surprised by it,” Anderson said.
On June 6, the children – who are 3- and 4-year-olds, Anderson said – presented the library with two plastic soda bottles filled with pennies.
Although he’s not sure of the exact amount inside, Anderson said he thinks the donation came to about $50. The kids struggled carrying the bottles, which weighed about 40 pounds, he added.
Anderson said he had seen the bottles a few weeks prior and then saw only about 50 cents inside.
“I was very happy with just the 50 cents,” he said. “It was the thought that counted.”
Head Start is a federallyfunded, community-based program for low-income families with infants and toddlers, and pregnant women. Along with making stops to neighborhoods and the Boys & Girls Club, Anderson said he and the bookmobile – which operates as its own branch of the library system – visit the county’s Head Start locations every two weeks.
Anderson said he always receives a warm welcome.
“They just love the bookmobile. For some of these kids, it’s their only access to reading,” Anderson said.
After finishing up special visits for the end of the school year, Anderson recently completed his first week of operating the bookmobile on the summer schedule. Library patrons can come on and pick out books and DVDs, and sign up for the summer reading program.
Now 12 years old, the
bookmobile is in need of an update. The Friends of the Cecil County Public Library, a nonprofit group that advocates for the library, hope to raise $30,000 to contribute to the purchase of a new vehicle. As of late June, library officials say they are about halfway to the goal and expect to have a new bookmobile sometime later this year.
Assisting the library with outreach to the county’s Head Start locations is PNC Bank. In addition to supporting the mission of the bookmobile, the bank sponsors the “My Special Book” program, which gives away free children’s books. During a visit each spring, children are invited to come aboard the bookmobile, interact with library staff, volunteers from Cecil County Public Schools and PNC representatives, and receive a special book to take home.
Vanessa Brown, vice president of client and community relations with PNC Bank, said the children always seem excited for the event – in part because she knows they enjoy visits from Anderson so much.
“We’re always greeted with hugs. They always like to see somebody new,” said Brown, who has visited Head Start to read to the children.
Although Brown knew of the children’s kind disposition and how much they liked Anderson, she said she was surprised to hear they made a donation to the bookmobile campaign.
“I never, ever dreamt the kids would hear about it and want to be involved in it,” she said.
Raymond “Chick” Hamm, a market executive at PNC Bank and president of the Cecil County Public Library Foundation, said the donation was an unexpected but sweet gesture. He admired the children for making the move – and hoped it showed they were absorbing the money management lessons the bank tries to pass on.
“When I heard what these kids had done my heart was lifted and I was absolutely delighted,” he said.
Fundraising for the book- mobile is still underway. The Friends are looking for support in the form of donations from businesses and individuals, as well as new members. Information on giving can be found at the library, on the library’s website, http://www.cecil. ebranch.info, and through the Friends’ Facebook page.
Children from the Head Start on Fletchwood Road in Elkton pose for a photo with the bookmobile and operator Arne Anderson.
Bookmobile operator Arne Anderson stamps children visiting from Head Start on Fletchwood Road. The children donated the two bottles of pennies on Anderson’s desk for the bookmobile.