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Reading Rocket: Family Literacy Outreach

Forever Book Fund

Forever Book Fund

Building families’ home libraries and nurturing the future of our community, one new book at a time! 

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Reading Rocket

The Reading Rocket team works to bring the best parts of the Library experience out of the branch and into the community.  

Services include:

  • Early Literacy Storytimes for preschools, daycares, afternoon care programs, and other facilities with classes or groups of children
    • May be provided in-person or virtually. 
    • May also provide Storytime Kits, which enable facilities and caregivers to produce their own high-quality storytimes. 
  • Play & Learns at open, ‘come-and-go’ style functions such as family-focused events, school literacy nights, and resource fairs, often in cooperation with staff from nearby branches
    • Encouraging kids and families to engage in many different kinds of valuable play
    • Building connections in the community
    • Sharing information about early learning, library resources, and more  
  • Lobby Stops at schools and community programs to provide programming, storytime kits, and introductory library experiences.

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About the Reading Rocket

Reading Rocket

In its first six years on the road, the Reading Rocket made 525 visits, delivering programming and Library resources to over 39,000 families. In an average year, the Rocket Crew provides storytimes, Play & Learns, and free Forever Books to around 7,500 area families! 

The Reading Rocket spends a lot of time outdoors at parks and other open community gathering spots, particularly in communities with limited access to private or public transportation options, where the school districts have low third grade reading scores, and where social services are stretched thin, as well as in rural areas where families have very limited access to reliable internet and other technology. The Rocket also partners with organizations that serve large populations of English Language Learners.  

Reading Rocket Donors

NASB - North American Savings Bank

While generous grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Royals Charities played a major role in the initial outfitting of the Rocket, gifts from individuals and other organizations have gone a long way in supporting the growth of this unique early literacy outreach program. 

The Reading Rocket’s Forever Book Fund has made it possible to provide brand new books for many more babies, toddlers, kids, and teens so that they can begin to build the home libraries that are so critical to academic success.

In October 2021, North American Savings Bank made a donation to the Forever Book Fund on behalf of its customers that will help keep the Rocket stocked full of books for children throughout the coming year.

To learn more about how you can support the Reading Rocket and other initiatives at Mid-Continent Public Library, visit mymcpl.org/donate.

Reading Rocket Partners

Ongoing partnerships with community organizations enrich the quality of the programs the Reading Rocket can provide. 

Working with Baby Grace and a number of area food pantries operated by the Community Services League, the Rocket offers books and services drive-through style to families picking up much needed supplies.  

Many of the events the Reading Rocket takes part in are designed to build community. During the pandemic, the Rocket has collaborated with the Kansas City Symphony’s Mobile Music Box, traveling to numerous local sites—from parks to parking lots—offering programming and resources alongside the Symphony’s free concerts.

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