It’s been estimated that sixty-one percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. Although difficult to believe there was a study done and the numbers confirmed (US Dept. of Education, 1996).
An analysis of a national data set of nearly 100,000 United States schoolchildren found that access to printed materials—and not poverty—is the “critical variable affecting reading acquisition” (McQuillan, 1998).
The Harris County Public Library in partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Ladies for Literacy Guild wanted to change this! Henceforth, the Curiosity Cruiser was born.
The Curiosity Cruiser is a state-of-the-art mobile library that provides Houston children with access to books and exciting educational programs.
We provide 10-12-week STREAM programming for Apartment Complexes, Schools or Community Centers. We also provide Storytime for schools and lastly, we attend local events such as festivals, health fairs and other outreach events.
Maybe you’ve seen the Cruiser out in the community providing programming at your local community center, apartment complex or outreach event but you’re still wondering what is the curiosity cruiser and what do we actually do?
The Curiosity Cruiser provides a fun, safe space to explore and learn, a variety of hands on activities in Science, Math, Technology, Reading, Writing and the Arts. We are also a mobile library. Students are able to check out books through our collection aboard the Cruiser!
A typical day at our 10-12-week programming sites include reading the students a story first, usually a story that pertains to the activity. Then, explaining the activity for the day. The activity lasts about 45 min-1hr and lastly, students are able to come aboard the Curiosity Cruiser to choose a book of their choice. The goal each week is for students to not only learn a STREAM activity but to build their own home libraries. By the end of the program, students will have at least 10 new books in their home library collection.
Next, our school storytime program typically is 1.5 hour! We read books to students and allow students to get 1 book from the Cruiser. The books that we read include our special framework that we use! All books are inspirational and promote positivity.
The most exciting thing is, our mascots may come! Our mascots are Owlbotron and Northtale! Northtale is Super Librarian and Owlbotron is a middle school student who loves reading! Both help to activate the power of reading! Our super heroes are a huge part of our outreach efforts and tend to be a big hit with students!
Last but not least, we attend health fairs, festivals and other local events. These events are fun and give us the opportunity to connect with other community partners and most importantly, we are able to connect with the community.
The Curiosity Cruiser is shaping the way our underserved youth see the world through literacy. It’s not only giving them access to books but giving them access to a new world and new opportunities.
For more information on how to book the Curiosity Cruiser at your next event, please email [email protected].