This summer, 11 libraries in Dallas are offering much more than an impressive selection of books and a quiet place to read. Operating under the sponsorship of Equal Heart, a nonprofit working to end hunger, these libraries serve as Summer Food Service Program sites where Dallas children can enjoy healthy meals and enriching activities during the summer months.
“Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from both the community and the staff,” said North Oak Cliff Branch Library Manager Ray Sablack.
During the first two weeks of operations 5,900 meals were served across all locations. The success has been so impressive that the Dallas Public Library Youth Services Administrator, Melissa Dease, has been asked to make a presentation at a statewide conference for librarians to encourage other libraries to participate next summer. Some branches have as many as 100 children show up to eat.
The North Oak Cliff Branch features a long list of activities scheduled throughout the summer. There are activities suitable for teens as well as young children. Also, there are weekly crochet groups, a book club, weekly art classes, computer classes, and more for adults.
Families arrive at the library for activities that begin at 11 a.m. and lunch is at 12:30. A snack is served at 2:30 and while there is sometimes a program at 1 or 2 p.m., there are so many things to do at the library some families stay from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sablack said that teens are coming in specifically for the snack time and staying afterward.
“Our library has a mission of bringing our community together and the Summer Food Program has proven itself very easy to integrate into that vision,” Sablack said. “We are learning more about our patrons, patrons are learning more about the library, and everyone is working together to create a stronger sense of community throughout our neighborhood.”
Posted July 1, 2015