The Calgary (Alberta, Canada) Public Library has an innovative program that addresses the connection between low literacy rates and crime. They've partnered with a local school, the police department, and a local Rotary Club to offer "It’s a Crime Not to Read."
This program connects Grade 2 and 3 students with books, reading, life-long learning, and positive community relationships. Each month, staff from the Calgary Public Library and an Officer from the Calgary Police Service visits a participating school. The Police Officer reads aloud to the students, illustrating the importance of developing strong literacy skills. Each student receives a free Library Card and the importance of using library resources is reinforced. A selection of books from the Calgary Public Library is brought to each session for students to borrow. The Police Officer is a positive role model, and becomes a mentor to the students. The participants also take part in several special events in the course of the program. It’s a Crime Not to Read improves reading levels, builds self-esteem, and creates powerful connections between young children and police officers. Now in its fourth year, more than 750 children participated during the 2008-2009 school year with 15 police officers serving as regular readers, mentors, and positive role models to these kids.
The "It's a Crime Not to Read" program is one of 12 winners of the 2010 Top Innovations awarded by the Urban Libraries Council. Read about the other eleven award-winners here. Sources: http://urbanlibraries.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=529 http://www.urbanlibraries.org/associations/9851/files/ulc_1002_top%20innovations_publication.pdf