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Cobb County Bookmobile on a mission to boost literacy levels

This library-on-wheels stopped by the Cobb County Safety Village Tuesday afternoon where dozens of students got their chance to take a free book home.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — If you're in Cobb County and you spot a multicolor van with the word "Bookmobile" splattered across its doors, you're probably next to the Cobb County Public Library Bookmobile.

This library-on-wheels stopped by the Cobb County Safety Village Tuesday afternoon where dozens of students - including Dakota - got a chance to take a free book home.

"We're looking for some books," young Dakota exclaimed as she rummaged through the shelves filled with hundreds of books.

She opted for the Hello Neighbor book but had a chance to choose from books in Spanish, too.

It’s an initiative from the county’s public library which is hoping to bring literacy levels up.

Katherine Zavala with the library says this initiative has been funded by the Cobb Library Foundation.

"It makes a difference because some of these kids have never even had a book in their house, they’ve never seen a library before and now we’re able to get them to their community," Zavala said.

The van goes to different Cobb County parks and communities. Zavala says they tend to go where they see most of the need.

“There’s a lot of need in the South Cobb area and also there’s a lot of transportation issues there too," she explained. "A lot of the problem is more because their parents aren’t home, they’re working. So (this is) to make sure they have something to do other than just being on the couch."

According to the nonprofit Cobb Collaborative, which is a group made up of different educational and professional institutions, 52.3% of children in the county are not achieving "proficient learner" on the milestones English Language Arts assessment.

"We've been working with many organizations throughout Cobb County to figure out different ways to get to our community in order to get those reading levels up," Zavala added.

The Bookmobile started in 2019 and has grown since. During the pandemic, they helped organizations in the county with what they needed.

"We helped Must Ministries to take their books out for summer lunches," she said. "At one moment we helped Cobb County Government senior services take their different foods and different services to the seniors. We put all of that into the Bookmobile."

So while it looks like just a library on wheels, there is a lot more to this book-filled van. She believes it will also help bring parents and their children together.

"If you're not reading yourself, your kids are not reading," she said. "It really just helps you in any aspect of life. Reading makes you discover the world."

To learn more about the Cobb County Bookmobile, click here.

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