Library adds reading effort for northside
JACQLYN BARNABY World Staff Writer

Kelly Jennings shows off some of the books available for children at area libraries. A new program is targeting northside children who haven’t been able to use library services.

The Tulsa City-County Library is encouraging north Tulsa children to “Get in the Game” this summer and read.

The library system has offered it’s annual citywide summer reading program for 15 years.

However, with money in hand from a local foundation, the library is expanding its program this year to focus additional efforts toward children in north Tulsa.

“The entire reading program is still the same,” said Kelly Jennings, children’s coordinator for the library system. “It’s still targeted to kids throughout the county.”

The new part of the program is possible because of a gift from the Meinig Family Foundation for this summer,” she said.

“The gift was specifically to be used to help kids on the northside in reading.”

The foundation and the Tulsa Library Trust are sponsoring the program to provide a literacy outreach to children who traditionally don’t use the library, don’t have a library card, don’t have transportation to the library and don’t have books in their home, she said.

The first step to the program is visiting 14 area schools to get the word out before students leave for summer vacation. Schools participating in the event are Alcott, Anderson, Bryant, Burroughs, Celia Clinton, Greeley, Houston, Jackson, Lindsey, Penn, Roosevelt, Sequoyah, Springdale and Whitman. Jennings said the library targeted these schools because of their low reading scores.

“We are going to visit each of those schools and do a magic reading show,” she said. “Brad Evans is the magician that’s doing those programs. He started his career as a child by going to the library and getting books on magic and learning how to do his tricks.”

At the end of the show, a librarian from the area library talks with the students about the reading program and gives them a coupon that can be turned into one of three north Tulsa libraries for a free book. The libraries participating in the program are Maxwell Park, 1313 N. Canton Ave.; Rudisill Regional, 1520 N. Hartford Ave.and Suburban Acres, 4604 N. Garrison Ave.

“Every kid in the area that comes to the library this summer will get a book,” she said. “This is a special incentive to take home to the parents to tell them to bring your kid to the library.”

The library also is targeting north side child-care centers. Seventy-five centers will be given “Read to Me” bags that will hopefully encourage the child-care workers to read to children. The bags include materials such as bookmarks, stickers, a “Reading Together” set as well as activity books and a free book coupon.

“We are also going to include information in there about our literacy program in case it’s a parent that doesn’t have good reading skills and wants to improve their skills,” she said. “A lot of times some of these kids are not readers because no one is reading to them at home or their parents don’t know how to read.”

The library also is partnering with Tulsa Park and Recreation Centers as well as Salvation Army sites in the north Tulsa area. The library’s bookmobile will stop by the centers on certain days to allow children who have no means of transportation to be able to participate in the program as well.

“One of the Salvation Army sites has over 200 kids and trying to figure out a schedule to get all those kids to the library is just impossible so really the library just goes to them,” Jennings said.

Participants of the summer reading program must complete eight books as well as visit the library four or more times during the summer.

Any child who completes the summer reading program will receive a medal as well as coupons for free food and merchandise at participating retailers in the community. They also will be placed in drawings for prizes such as computers, scooters, and $50 cash prizes as well as bowling parties for six, telescopes, a CD player and Star Theater Home Planetariums.

The north Tulsa school that has the most children complete the summer reading program will be treated to an additional program in the fall.

To find out more, call

596-7970 or 596-7280.

Jacqlyn Barnaby, World staff writer, can be reached at 437-0150 or via e-mail at