Book pantries for kids pop up throughout Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

A June 1, 2020 photo shows one of the Storytime GR book pantries created and installed by Rockford Construction on June 1, 2020. (Storytime GR)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents struggling to keep their children educated and entertained while classrooms are closed have a new resource: Storytime GR book pantries.

Rockford Construction donated the materials and built the units. The company installed three of the book pantries Monday at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Other Way Ministries and Other Way Ministries’ Little Lights Childcare Center.

The book pantries operate much like Little Free Libraries, but with a focus on literatures and activities for babies, children and teenagers. Each pantry contains new books in English and Spanish in a variety of formats, including board, chapter, coloring and sticker books. Families are encouraged to take a book and return books as needed. They can also donate their used books to the book pantry.

Officials with ReadGR say they’ll add new books each week throughout summer and reassess the need when the school year begins.

The program plans to install a dozen book pantries altogether, with the next batch going up outside the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Seymour and Madison branches on June 8.

The Storytime GR project was made possible by a partnership between the city of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Valley State University, the Literacy Center of West Michigan and ReadGR.

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