HealthPartners and Saint Paul Public Library are making it easier for kids in every neighborhood of that city to read all year long.
A sponsorship by HealthPartners supports the Bookmobile and its services. “We’ve had a long tradition in supporting families and kids, inside and outside of our clinics and hospitals. This is why we continue to build on our Children’s Health Initiative,” said Pahoua Yang Hoffman, Senior VP of Government and Community Relations at HealthPartners. “In addition to active play, we also encourage reading, talking and singing with children. This boosts both a child’s connection with their caregivers, increases success in school, and contributes to their long-term health. And by teaming up with the Bookmobile, we are able to reach more families and kids in the Twin Cities. This can give them a head start toward future success.”
Access to books has been shown to have a strong link with a child’s success. And reading can help prevent summer learning loss.
“Muscles weaken and waste away if a person stops using them. And the brain is no different,” says HealthPartners Medical Director for Well-being Thomas Kottke, MD, MSPH.
All kids are at risk of losing skills if they stop reading. But children of families with limited access to resources are at even greater risk.
That’s why the Bookmobile travels all over the city of St. Paul, while focusing especially on areas that may not have access to a library. It has nearly 20,000 books available to loan out. And it’s staffed by librarians who can help kids with research and book guidance, library card set-up and Internet access.
"I've worked on the Bookmobile for 35 years. It's amazing how many different people we engage with,” says Yvonne Snidarich, a Bookmobile driver. "We bring our services to so many, including immigrants from all over the world. We are introducing new Americans to all the services the public library offers.”
The Bookmobile serves around 80 local partners. It has a presence at Grand Old Day and Rondo Days. It goes to housing areas for seniors and persons living with a disability. It makes stops at after-school programs. And it is a regular visitor to groups that serve children and families. All in all, more than 125,000 people visit the Bookmobile at these stops each year to do research and check out books and other items.
To see where the Bookmobile will be next, check out its schedule of events.