Virginia Teachers Open Pop-Up Library to Encourage Summer Reading

What to Know

  • A librarian and a group of teachers from Cunningham Park Elementary have set up a small summer library for students.
  • The library is open every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Students can keep the books they take home.

Dozens of children living in a Northern Virginia neighborhood now have access to a library that lets them keep the books they take home.

A librarian and a group of teachers at Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna set up the pop-up library to prevent students' reading skills from slipping over the summertime -- something they call the "summer slide."

"Reading is probably the simplest and most valuable way for children to continue to learn and grow and come back ready for the next grade level," said Meg Brinkhuis, the librarian for Cunningham Park Elementary.

In past years, the school has had a summer reading program, but daytime hours and distance kept many students from coming.

So, Brinkhuis and a group of teachers decided to bring the books to the kids and created a little library inside the Cedar Lane Shopping Center -- next door to the apartment complex where many of their students live.

"We're moms and we think of these kids as our own children. So, we want what's best for them," said Joan Walsh, a kindergarten teacher at Cunningham Park Elementary.


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When Brunkhuis put out a call for books, she never imagined the response. Nearly 1,000 books have been donated.

"It's fantastic. It's like a tidal wave of generosity, really, from our families and families in other schools," Brunkhuis said.

On Wednesday, the room quickly filled with children and parents eager to read.

"We're really excited because they like reading books, so I'm really excited too," said Anna Diaz, a mother who brought her children to the library.

The library is at the Parks and Rec office at the shopping center and is open Wednesday nights from 5 to 7 p.m.

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