Chippewa Valley Little Libraries make books more accessible

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 6:05 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Reading is a skill that prepares kids not only for school but for the rest of their lives. One group in Chippewa County is working to make books more accessible, for free.

Through the turning of a page and the use of imagination, books help kids learn more about the world around them while preparing them for the future.

“One of the number one indicators of being school ready is the presence of books in the home,” Jessi Peterson, the youth services coordinator of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, said. “So, from birth on up, we want everybody in our county to have access to quality reading materials to be shared with their families.”

To make books more accessible, the Early Literacy Program of the Greater Chippewa Valley created Chippewa Valley Little Libraries.

“So, the Chippewa Valley Little Libraries offer families a free book for their child each month,” Becce Woestman, the parent services program director of the River Source Family Center, said. “It’s offering a chance for families and all these smaller communities to build their at-home library in a different way.”

The bins are strategically placed to give access to low-income families in Chippewa County.

“Reading is obviously relevant to success in schools and life,” Woestman said. “So, if we can find that spark and that passion and that connection to something, I think that’s amazing.”

The Chippewa Valley Little Libraries are funded through grants allowing members of the Early Literacy Coalition to refill the bins with new books for kids to take home and keep.

“We want to meet them where they are and be able to have families build their home library so they don’t have to go anywhere to access a book,” Peterson said.

Woestman said the ultimate goal is to continue expanding the Chippewa Valley Little Libraries to other places in Chippewa County.

“It’s just a little coalition’s dream, but it’s getting bigger,” Woestman said. “I would love the idea of getting as many books as we can to as many families as we can.”

There are three little libraries in Chippewa County. They are at CDC Outreach in Chippewa Falls, The Holcombe Food Pantry and the Bloomer/New Auburn Food Pantry.