Bringing the library to you.
The Curiosity Cruiser and the HCPL Outreach team are on a mission to bring the library to everyone in the community. With a vehicle full of books, programs, and services The Curiosity Cruiser has been an important part of our mission since its inception in 2017. The Curiosity Cruiser visits schools, community centers, parks and other community locations to encourage the joy of reading to all Harris County youth.
An inside look at two icons and their mission.
Their names are Owlbotron and Northtale and they are local superheroes who bring the joy of literacy to young readers throughout Harris County. Owlbotron and Northtale took the time to catch up with us virtually and answer some heavy hitting questions about their adventures with the Curiosity Cruiser.
Owlbotron: We started in 2017 when the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Harris County Public Library partnered together to distribute books for free. Studies have shown that reading disparities grow when kids are outside of school but having books at home keeps minds actively engaged and increases reading scores. We want to combat that by giving kids their own home library and ownership of what they read while also making science and technology fun and accessible. Like the name of our van, we want to increase curiosity!
Northtale: It's been all love! Our community has been grateful for the services we provide. Every location we go to, they are welcoming and the kids love the books they get! It’s great to see the kids get books they really want and walking away with a book to start their very own home library. Throughout this pandemic, we are often told that we are the only outing for many families and they really look forward to seeing us.
Owlbotron: We like to plan our activities, crafts, and storytimes in advance to make it fun and entertaining. We also want to meet a certain number of kids and spark that interest in STEM that kids didn’t know was there before! The plan is to leave with smiles on all the kids faces.
Owlbotron: I can’t wait to show the 3d printer off!
Northale: I’m excited to see kids unlock new skills that they didn’t know they had. Being a catalyst and sparking that interest is what I’m excited about.
Owlbotron: One of our long term goals is to expose kids to different professions that they wouldn’t have previously thought about before and exploring the world in different ways.
Owlbotron: The Cruiser Club is a great way for everyone to participate in our mission of serving the community. Your contributions help us provide books, services, and more programs for kids and previous contributions were essential in creating the third cruiser. You can donate by visiting the Cruiser Club website!
Houston is home to many mascots. How do you set yourselves apart from the rest?
Northtale: You probably know a lot of the city mascots. Unlike the city mascots who represent teams, Owlbotron and I represent the children of Harris County; the future!
Owlbotron: My cape sets me apart [laughs], but really we focus on entertainment and literacy.
Northtale: The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires.
Owlbotron: I love all books but I am reading Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott.
Questions from a 6 year old super fan
Northtale: It goes super super fast! It’s propelled by jet fuel and can go up to 600 thousand infinity miles an hour!
Owlbotron: My origin story was made into a short film!
Northtale: I am not ready to share my origin story.
Owlbotron: I've asked many times and get a different story each time!
Northtale: Yes I saw him once at Kroger! His jewelry was a bit gaudy.
Owlbotron: Oh he wanted half of our books! We said 'No, you can only have one.'
Northtale: For a galactic conqueror, he’s actually pretty nice.
Owlbotron: We can’t tell you.
Northtale: It’s a super top secret lair!
Owlbotron: I can fly!
Northtale: Well...I AM FLY! Actually, Owlbotron is super strong and can summon the power of literacy. I have x-ray vision that helps me locate clues to mysteries when I combat the evildoers of literacy!
Owlbotron: We get more powerful and stronger with each book we give out and when you read!