Saturday, February 4, 2017

Librarian reads to homeless children

As reported in the New York Times, Colbert Nembhard has managed the Morrisania Branch Library in Bronx, New York, for 25 years. The Crotona Inn homeless shelter is only a ten-minute walk from the library, but some homeless families don't feel comfortable going to the library, so for the past eight years he's walked to the shelter pulling a rolling suitcase filled with children's books.

                                                                                   Christian Hansen for the New York Times
Eighty-seven families live at the shelter, and children get excited when the intercom crackles, "Mr. Nembhard is here to read stories and sing songs to your children." His visit is similar to a Mister Rogers script. He begins by singing "Good morning to you" followed by "Wheels on the Bus," where children join in the chorus. Squirming toddlers become fascinated as he opens a lift-a-flap book called "Dear Zoo." After reading a few pages, the librarian entertains with finger puppets. Toddlers stare in amazement. Mr. Nembhard knows most of the children by name. "You build relationships with them so that when you see them they feel comfortable," he explained.

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