During the summer months, children may not be exposed to a lot of learning. For these reasons, many schools send children home with summer reading lists at the beginning of the summer, and parents often turn to the local library to check these books out for their children rather than spending the money to purchase the books from a store.
Unfortunately, not every town is privileged enough to have a local library. Places like East Carbon in Utah may suffer the loss of a free reading system without their Bookmobile, the only source for books in the area. That is where 10-year-old October Hamilton comes in.
Hamilton loves books and reading, so when she heard that the funding for her town’s little mobile library, the Bookmobile, was cut, she wanted to do something about it immediately. According to Sun Advocate, “She started the effort at her Little League game Thursday after learning of the decision by watching the Commission meeting on YouTube.”
On Wednesday, June 7, “The Carbon County Commission voted against renewing the contract with the Utah State Library Division and the county’s contribution that helps fund the local bookmobile.” The very next day, Hamilton began asking local people to support her efforts to save the Bookmobile by signing a petition.
That Saturday, June 10, she stood outside a Smith’s Food and Drug in her neighborhood and asked the customers if they would like to sign to save the Carbon County Bookmobile.
“Ten-year-old October Hamilton said she started a petition drive to save the Bookmobile because, ‘There’s no library in East Carbon and the Bookmobile will help kids to read during the summer,’” the Sun Advocate stated.
Hamilton stood outside the store with her younger brother and mother gathering plenty of signatures that day. She did not stop there, though. By the next Carbon County Commission Meeting on Wednesday, June 21, she had gathered hundreds of more signatures.
In the end, Hamilton presented about 1,000 signatures to the board at their meeting, which received a round of applause from the crowd at the meeting. She nervously approached the microphone to share with the members of the commission how much the Bookmobile meant to her and others and why it needed to be saved.
When the board members asked her if there was anything else she would like to share, she revealed that her younger brother has autism and ADHD, “and he can’t sit still for two seconds. But you hand him a book and he’ll sit down and read the whole thing.” The Bookmobile is extremely important to her family.
But the Bookmobile gives benefits to many more families than just the Hamiltons. “Utah Library Division Director and State Librarian Donna Jones Morris said the bookmobile is funded by the state and the counties, but the loss of county funding would result in the complete elimination of the bookmobile service. She said it would mean lost jobs too…”
Morris also noted that the Bookmobile is crucial for providing outer areas with wireless internet service at its stops. Some of the Bookmobile users must fill out job applications online and require the Bookmobile to provide that service.
Ultimately, Hamilton was successful in keeping the service alive, as “county leaders decided to fund the Bookmobile on a reduced schedule while asking schools and businesses to help pay for long-term funding,” according to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.
Speaking of the bookworm and determined young girl, Mellor stated, “What she’s done in the community with her petition has done more to raise attention for literacy than anything any local politician could have done.”
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