After years of promoting literacy through mentoring and help people moving to Carthage from other countries learn English, the Family Literacy Council had to remake itself when other organizations took up much of that mission mission.

Editor's note: This is one of a series of stories about organizations that received grants from the Carthage Community Foundation and how they are using that money.

After years of promoting literacy through mentoring and help people moving to Carthage from other countries learn English, the Family Literacy Council had to remake itself when other organizations took up much of that mission mission.
The Family Literacy Council, Halo Salon, Repurpose Boutique and the Carthage Chamber of Commerce dedicated the Literacy Council's fourth “Little Free Library,” in Carthage on Monday outside the Chamber office, located at the corner of Garrison and Fourth Street.
The Little Free Library is located on the east side of the building in what was a drive through window when the building was a bank years ago. A bench has been installed on the concrete apron across the drive through from the window.
Both are sheltered somewhat by the cover over the drive through lane.
Neely Myers, Membership Director for the Chamber, said the location is good because a number of students from the Carthage Junior High walk across their parking lot every day after school on their way home.
The library is filled with books for children of all ages and people can read them on the bench or take them home. People can also leave gently used childrens books in the library to replace those they take.
Taylor Macy, with Halo Salon, said that business along with Repurpose Boutique collected the money and books to build and supply this Little Library.
Myers said the Chamber staff is looking forward to seeing youngsters sitting on the bench reading books when it gets warmer. Children are also welcome to come into the Chamber to read if they like.

New mission
This is the fourth Little Free Library in Carthage maintained by the Literacy Council, and a fifth will be installed soon at the Carthage Early Childhood Center on Fairview Avenue.
The Council's first library was located on Chestnut Avenue at the Grace Episcopal Church; the second was installed outside Columbian Elementary School and the third was installed earlier this year at the Fair Acres Family Y.
The Council recently received a $2,500 grant from the Carthage Community Foundation, where Literacy Council Board President Larry Hartman talked about the Council's mission.
“Carthage Family Literacy Council has been around since the early 1990s,” Hartman said. “I got involved about 10 years ago and, in the recent five years, we've had to repurpose what the Literacy Council does. We all know this, children have learned to read on their parents laps since reading was invented. But in doing our research, what we found was that parents are not reading to our children like they used to. Silver screens, lots of other things, busy, busy, busy — parents are not reading to their children.”
Mary Kirby, director of the Literacy Council, said the foundation's grant will help install and supply two additional libraries in 2018 after the one at the Early Childhood center.

Projects
Hartman said the Literacy Council has dedicated itself to collecting childrens books and getting those books in the hands of as many children as possible.
• The group provides a book package, that includes a well-illustrated Mother Goose book, to the families of about 100 babies born at Mercy Joplin Hospital every month.
“They take it home and there's a little bib in there that says read to me, some book marks and other things that extoll the parents to read to their children,” he said. “We try to get across to them what the value is to reading to a child.”
• They provide “indestructible” books to the Carthage Parents as Teachers program for them to give to the children they work with.
“I just took (Parents as Teachers director) Jane (Goade), at the beginning of the school year, 1,000 brand new books,” Hartman told the Community Foundation. “She told me last week, Larry I'm out. That's part of what we're funding with this money is buying these books.”
• They stock and maintain the Little Free Libraries around Carthage.
In addition to installing the small libraries, they set up tubs at area businesses to let people donate lightly used childrens books to their program.
Tubs are permanently located at the Fair Acres Y, the Early Childhood Center and Grace Episcopal Church. Two tubs are rotated to different businesses across town each month.
In November, the tubs are set at Carthage Hardware and Mother Road Coffee, both on the Square.
“If a child doesn't know how to read, if a child is not reading at grade level by age 3, the chances of that child having a successful education experience drop off the chart,” Hartman said. “In repurposing ourselves, we thought about what we needed to do to help those children who don't know how to read, learn how to read.”