Head Start sup­ports book­mo­bile drive

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By DARA MCBRIDE


— 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.

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