Reading books is a hard-to-find passion these days.
But this librarian from the Morrisania Branch of the Carnegie Library in the Bronx goes about instilling a love of books in the homeless children of his community.
Read on to discover how this amazing man’s passionate efforts changed the children’s lives.
Colbert Nembhard visits the Crotona Inn Homeless Shelter every week as part of the New York City literacy program. There, he reads stories to the children of the families residing at the shelter. Originally he wanted to go into social work, but Nembhard ended up studying library sciences instead. He started this project tapping into both of his passions in a manner that would change the lives of the needy.
This is the eighth year that Nembhard has been going to the shelter.
While he has to manage with the dimly lit daycare room or office room, he uses the power of the stories to transport the children to happier, magical lands. His only goal is to tap into the imagination of children and inculcate a lifelong love of books in them.
Nembhard brings in so much more than books to these children.
Over the years, he has signed up countless children and their families for library cards. Libraries provide the family with a lot of resources. They’re a place where families with nowhere else to go can come to work on resumés or find some place to live.
Nembhard’s project is especially useful for displaced families who don’t feel comfortable entering a library setting, or simply for people who have no way of getting there.
“We bring the library to them,” he told The New York Times.
Nembhard’s selfless hard work has inspired city-wide initiatives for putting up libraries in homeless shelters.
In September, the city’s Department of Homeless Services was recognized by the Library of Congress for best practice in literacy for their Library Pilot Project. The project has helped create libraries in 30 shelters with families.
For these homeless children, the story-time provides some sort of stability and hope in their dispirited lives. Homeless children often miss out on regular education as they accompany their families from shelter to shelter. This program adds a bit of consistency to their education.
The books open vistas for them to look forward to, for now and for the future.