Probation youth create little mobile library to show appreciation

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A generous book donation from the Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library prompted youth in the San Bernardino County Probation Department’s Gateway/Regional Occupational Program (ROP) to design and create a gift of appreciation for the organization.

“We, as a department, are so thankful and wanted to give something back in return,” said Probation Division Director I Kory Oberlies. “It’s important we keep these libraries stocked and we couldn’t do that without generous donations like the one from the Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library.”

On March 2, in conjunction with Read Across America, the ROP youth presented a Dr. Seuss-themed structure to the Friends Bookstore to express their gratitude following a gift of 600 books to the Probation Department’s Little Mobile Libraries Project.

Through ROP, youth learn various trade skills to assist with successful community reintegration. These skills, which include wood working, landscaping, and plumbing, can be utilized at home and in the youth’s potential career field. More importantly, the youth learn how to follow directions, stay on task, complete assignments, and work together as a team.

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The Little Mobile Libraries Project is an award-winning program that supports reading by endorsing the “take a book, leave a book” practice. Four years ago, the Probation Department and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools collaborated with the Literacy Club to build 10 Little Mobile Libraries and place them at buildings throughout the county to supply free books to readers of all ages.

“We are always looking for partnerships to promote literacy in our community,” said Les King, president of A.K. Smiley Public Library. “This was a perfect opportunity for both groups.”

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