My View: A great culture of reading in Santa Fe

April 21, 2018

A father reading to his son at the Community Book Swap on April 8

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

By: Molly Timmins

April 21, 2018

Books… an essential part of any home, especially homes with kids. Having age appropriate books available for kids at home has been shown to triple their interest in reading and is a predictor of higher reading scores in school. Beyond borrowing from the library, kids’ books for the home are often inaccessible, as one community member noted at the April 8, 2018 Community Book Swap. As she swapped a few books her grandson had grown out of, this long-time resident noted that kids’ books can be expensive and sometimes hard to find in Santa Fe. She happily switched her old books for different titles to read with her grandson.

The Reading Group, a collaborative working group supported by Opportunity Santa Fe, organized a Community Book Swap at the Santa Fe Place Mall to make children’s and young adult books more accessible to families. With the support of AmeriCorps VISTA members, the group collected donations at schools across Santa Fe with collection boxes at schools like Wood Gormley, Salazar, and St. Michaels, as well as at the Santa Fe Community Foundation and Reading Quest. Additionally, Gabor Vida of Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi generously collected books and community members dropped off book donations at the event.

Books were organized at the mall according to reading level to make it easier for interested parents, grandparents, and kids to find books to take home. Teens were excited to see their favorite series like Junie B. Jones, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and more. Elementary school students toted younger siblings around to find books to read together. Grandparents and parents collected books to read with their kids amongst the excitement of kids running between book laden tables.

A young girl from El Camino Real, attending with her sister and mom, chose the book swap as a birthday activity! Others didn’t know about the book swap beforehand but due to the prime location, stumbled upon a fantastic opportunity to take home books for their kids. One dad took advantage of the stacks of books and a makeshift reading nook, grabbing a book to read to his son. His son looked around in wonder at all the books and was captivated by his dad’s storytelling. Another mom was overjoyed to hear her daughter exclaim “this is the best day ever” in response to the opportunity to take books home. The Reading Group made a fantastic decision in choosing the Santa Fe Place Mall…

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Molly Timmins is an AmeriCorps VISTA supporting Opportunity Santa Fe