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The Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group is partnering with the Ouachita Parish Public Library and students from a University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) Civic Engagement class to present two children’s literacy projects. The projects include a walkable story time activity as well as a children’s book drive. 

The Ouachita Parish Public Library is presenting Downtown Story Time Stroll during the month of April. Pages from the children’s book, Bunny’s Book Club, will be posted in the windows of participating shops for the reading activity similar to a scavenger hunt. The 26 shops are located on Trenton, Wood, Commerce, and Natchitoches Streets. 

The book begins at Spa Bella (321 Wood Street) and ends at Messy Armadillo (204 Trenton Street). After reading the book, families are encouraged to shop locally and apply for library cards at the Ouachita Parish Public Library’s West Monroe Branch (315 Cypress Street). 

“A huge part of our mission is to advance literacy, which is why the Library is grateful to have community partners and local businesses support early childhood literacy,” said Danielle Kelley Tolbird, communications coordinator for the Ouachita Parish Public Library. 

In addition to the Story Time Stroll activity, there will be a book drive organized by students from ULM’s Civic Engagement class. The public is invited to drop off children’s books which will be donated to the West Monroe Community Center, the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, and early head start classrooms. Downtown drop off locations will be available at the following shops: Downtown Nutrition (306 Trenton Street), Just Peachy (221 Trenton Street), and Luna Piena (400 Trenton Street). Book donations can be made during the participating businesses’ regular business hours. The drive will run from April 1 until Tuesday, April 13. 

“My students are very excited about partnering with Downtown West Monroe and Ouachita Parish Public Library on this project. The understand the importance of literacy in helping young people grow and are happy to contribute to these efforts by hosting a book drive,” said Leigh Hersey, assistant professor in the political science department at ULM. 

More information can be found on the Downtown West Monroe Facebook Page.

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