By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Staff
Abbott Owle, an 11-month-old member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, grabs a copy of “We love you Moms and Babies” from the Little Free Library at the Dora Reed Qualla Boundary Head Start/Early Head Start Center on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 8. He was taking advantage of a new grant-funded program aimed at increasing literacy among Cherokee children.
“The library will have 20 new books each week,” Frances Long, Qualla Boundary Head Start/Early Head Start literacy/multi-cultural coordinator, said in a statement. “We ask that each family get one book per family so all children have a chance to receive a free book. Once you take a book, please leave a book in its place.”
The library kiosk in front of the Dora Reed Center is made possible through a grant awarded to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Reading Nation Waterfall grant, awarded to four federally recognized tribes (EBCI, Crow Tribe of Montana, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and the Santo Domingo Pueblo) and one state recognized tribe (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) awards $69,000 to each grantee over a three-year period.
“It is a one-time award, but it is for three years with the idea being that over that time a way can be found to continue the project into the future utilizing any available funding,” said Adam Kyle Lambert, Qualla Boundary Public Library manager. “The grant includes funds for books for the Little Free Libraries, a community survey, and some funds to support some programming and materials for Qualla Library, Snowbird Library, and the Elementary Library based upon the community assessment survey.”
Dr. Anthony Chow, Reading Nation Waterfall project director, visited Cherokee in July and distributed 150 books at the Qualla Boundary Head Start and the Qualla Boundary Public Library. “Many thanks to Adam Lambert, Chief Sneed, Tina Saunooke, Donna Robertson, and all of the wonderful people and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian tribe who spent time with us during our site visit,” he said in a statement. “We learned quite a bit about their history, their dreams and aspirations, and the very real barriers they face, especially as it pertains to early children’s literacy.”
For more information about the program or to take the community survey, visit www.myreadingnation.com/ebci.