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Merrick Swoboda looks for a book to read at the KCAA Lending Library.

Jul 13, 2015

KCAA Muriel & The New Lending Library

"Ms. Cora are you going to open the library today?" is a commonly asked question amongst the KCAA Muriel preschoolers.

The Lending Library, which was established in June with the support of a Ward Village Foundation grant, has truly taken on a life of its own. What was previously a 'resource shelf' has now expanded into an extensive library filled with hundreds of books and is complete with a borrow and return system.

Cora Gibo, Preschool Director of KCAA Muriel in Kaka'ako says of the Lending Library, "I think it went beyond my expectations. You come in and you go, 'Wonderful, there's a lending library,' and you just see it as borrowing a book and establishing a love for reading. But more than that, we got families starting to mingle. You see conversations and families getting to know each other. Once, I saw a mom take this pillow here into the middle and with her child, leaned back and started reading. It's precious moments like that I didn't expect to come out of a lending library. Those are all wonderful things."

Prior to this new addition, teachers were required to read stories to their students, at a minimum, three times a day. But according to Gibo, books were somewhat of a scarcity. To combat this, KCAA teachers often headed to public libraries on their days off during the weekend to check out new material for their students. "The school has a really good curriculum set. The choices are good, but they didn't bring the full effect. You have the teachers and myself who will talk about why it's important to read. Now with the library, what we say is supported by the parents and outside of school, so it brings you full circle," says Gibo.

Jenny Au and son Brayden reading a book together.

Jenny Au, mother to 5-year old Brayden, laughs as she tries to recall the amount of books her son has read. "He likes borrowing books as often as he can. Everytime the library's open, we borrow a book. He's borrowed so many books, I can't remember! But he's actually liked all the books that he's borrowed so far." Au also added, "With every book they borrow, they are required to do a book report. We've done so many. Brayden knows that book reports come with checking out a book, so it's not a battle. But it's simple and he enjoys drawing his favorite parts. In general, I really appreciate having the Lending Library, it's been such a great opportunity for all the kids to have access to different kinds of books.

Gibo says of the book report program that they [KCAA Muriel] "wanted to not have it be all about reading a book and returning it. We wanted them to get into the system of book reports so they could get what a book is, what it's about, and what it means. We've evolved into giving them book bucks after turning in a report, just to have an incentive. This was the thing that made the kids go this is really special. But for us, it helps the kids truly reflect on the book by saying what their favorite parts are."

Mae Lynne and son Merrick enjoy their time spent reading.

Mae Lynne Swoboda (a parent on the Parent Participation Committee) says of her 4-year old Merrick and the library, "It's so convenient. It's nice not to have to make an extra stop since you're already stopping by to pick them up. I'm surprised with the variety of books. Some of them I've seen, but there are even cultural history and nonfiction books. I've noticed that he's [Merrick] better able to know when to turn the page and that there are words he needs to read and words that he can recognize. It's made him more confident in taking on reading. The illustrations are great and are helping him pick up on some of the blanks, helping him to become a better reader. Bottom line, he enjoys it and I think it's setting a good foundation. Hopefully, it'll be this that sets him up for a good future."

"When we first started with this grant, I think the staff - the staff, we all borrowed books. And children will have books that they borrow with their parents. To open this [Lending Library] to all the families, the love and support for reading is something that's just a lifetime thing. To start it so early, at a young age, that's the greatest gift you can get coming out of preschool… the children's love for reading is the greatest thing we can give to the community" - Cora Gibo"

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