The early morning ride to the West Broad Farmers Market Juneteenth celebration wasn’t bad. Traffic was light, and the temperature hovered around seventy degrees. As volunteers, farmers, artists, bakers and others prepared, Travis, the Community Agriculture Director, set me up with a tent next to the MEU Radio booth. According to the organization’s website, “MEU (Music, Education, Uplift) Radio – Athens is here to entertain, inform and motivate the youth of Athens, GA. Our goal is to help free them from the stranglehold of poverty by pouring messages into the community that will ignite the light to a path of positive and prosperous living.”
While curious readers from all walks of life stopped to share stories and choose books, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement’s Mokah-Jasmine Johnson performed a few songs of empowerment. Next came Athens’ own hip hop artists L.G. and BlackNerdNinja, followed by local poet Synergistic Sierra, who shared a few poems with musical accompaniment.
Twenty-eight books were given away, and community connections were formed. From social justice activists working to end poverty, to locavores promoting sustainable farming practices (and now literacy), the West Broad Farmers Market is a good fit for the Bibliobike, which will return on most Saturdays throughout the summer.
Explore Joshua L. Jones’ photos of the the celebration for the Athens Banner-Herald here.
This evening’s ride to The Salvation Army will be the seventh Bibliobike delivery of the summer. Future dates, times and addresses are under the DELIVERY SCHEDULE heading on the right side of the homepage. If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page.
The first time I load up and make the trek to Rocksprings Homes, I’m a week early (ugh). I park the Bibliobike outside the community center then talk with the receptionist inside and hand her a flyer. She explains that lunches are primarily distributed to kids who attend summer camp, and “the manager is out of the office.”
“What’s her name?”
“Thanks – I’ll see you next week.”
Summer camp starts the following Monday, and men delivering lunches pull the van up to the curb right when I arrive. Perfect timing. The receptionist finishes up a phone call with Marci, who’s picking up a few last minute items. When she arrives, I ask, “Are you Marci?”
“Can I help you unload?”
“Hold the cart steady.”
While she unloads everything, once again, I explain what I’m doing. She likes the idea and invites me to set up inside (where there’s air conditioning). The kids finish up their lunches while I coordinate with the camp counselors. Each one has a mix of around seven elementary and middle school age kids for the day, and the groups rotate through to choose books. Within a twenty minute whirlwind, forty-two kids select books.
Deliveries to the Rocksprings Community Center are unlike any other because there are simply so many kids. After just two deliveries so far, fifty-seven books have been given away.
Click here to learn more about the history of public housing in Athens.
If it wasn’t July in Georgia, the granite boulders scattered around this shaded spot at Park Place Apartments would be ideal places for folks to sit and read. Temperature and humidity likely contributed to last Thursday’s low turnout. (I passed the time with Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, a little summertime science fiction.) Only three kids walked away with books, but I connected with a couple families.
A neighbor told the first visitor that I teach third grade at Chase Street. Her son happens to be a rising third grader who’s been living in another state. She said he’ll visit Athens next week, so I gave her my contact information, as well as our principal’s, so she can arrange a tour. I look forward to meeting him when I return next week. A familiar face at a new school eases some of the stress for a new student.
The first young reader to browse last Thursday will also be a third grader at Chase next year. His dad chose a bilingual (Spanish and English) phrase book, and his son selected one on rocks and minerals so he can preview some third grade science content. They asked if I’d be back next week, so hopefully they’ll spread the word.
As of Thursday, I’ve made initial visits to this summer’s three donation spots, so the delivery schedule is now set. Check the widget on the right side of the homepage for delivery locations and times (or scroll to the bottom of the page, if you’re on a mobile device).