“Stay positive, stay healthy and be strong. And read a book.”
Dr. Marlene Correia loves books. She also enjoys sharing them. In fact, the Bridgewater State University professor has found a way to make sure people have access to reading material during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Correia recently placed a little free library outside her Freetown home to encourage reading and increase access to books. Her father built the miniature structure, which she filled with some of her many books and bookmarks. People are welcome to take or leave items.
Reading, she explained, has always transported people to a new world away from the troubles society is facing.
“It’s been a dream of mine that I really wanted to do this. This seemed to be the perfect time,” she said on a recent morning as she watched someone take a book from the library. “I’m so happy people are enjoying it.”
Correia, an assistant professor of literacy education in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, saw some of the more than 100,000 little free libraries around the world and knew she wanted her own. Her Chipaway Road library is the first in Freetown.
BSU students who live nearby can even pick up children’s books to use for their class assignments.
Correia hopes her library does its part to ensure equity in education amid the reality that every student has different resources at home.
“A lot of kids don’t have access to the books that they need to keep them reading and do the assignments even though they can do them virtually,” she said. “We always have to be thinking about access to books for kids.”
Like other Bridgewater professors, Correia developed alternative ways to ensure BSU students continue to learn during the pandemic. Her pupils, for example, are practicing reading aloud by recording themselves on video.
“Stay positive, stay healthy and be strong,” is her advice to Bears. “And read a book.”
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