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Summer Reading, Feeding At Some Library Branches

Ann Thompson
Free lunches are offered at several branches of the library this summer, away from the bookshelves.

Summer reading programs have drawn kids to libraries for years. Since 2012, there's been another reason to visit the library: lunch.

Libraries have a reputation for being quiet. But, noise rules are thrown out at 13 branches of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Public Libraries at lunchtime. The library offers free meals to anyone under the age of 18. Youth services and programming coordinator Lisa Soper says some children rely on getting lunch at school, and when school's out, they go hungry.

"We get a lot of kids during the summer months that they feel the library is a safe place for them to be. We have them there, we notice that a lot of them come up and say 'I'm hungry, can I get some food?', and so this kind of came out of that need.

"We're all about kids continuing their learning opportunities during the summer, and it's hard for kids to be learning during the summer if they're hungry. So we feel it's very important that kids get fuel for their bodies as well as for their minds during the summer months."

Soper says the program is funded through the USDA and administered through the state of Ohio.  She says they have enough food to go around, but still need help.  She says volunteers are always welcome.

She says it can get rowdy with some libraries serving as many as 50 kids.

"The staff at Elmwood Place, for example, they have it down to a science so they're pretty good about maintaining control in there while it's happening. I think the whole branch turns itself over to that. It's only 30 minutes or 45 minutes or so. I think everybody in the community is so supportive of it, it's not a problem."

The free lunches are served at these branches from June 5 to August 4:

·         Main Library 12:15 p.m.

·         Avondale 12:30 p.m.

·         Bond Hill 1 p.m. lunch, 4:30 p.m. snack

·         College Hill 1 p.m.

·         Covedale 12:30 p.m.

·         Deer Park 12:30 p.m. lunch, 3 p.m. snack

·         Elmwood Place 12:30 p.m. lunch, 4 p.m. snack

·         Groesbeck 12:30 p.m.

·         Madisonville 12:30 p.m. lunch, 4:30 p.m. snack

·         Mt. Healthy 1 p.m.

·         North Central 12:30 p.m.

·         Reading 12:30 p.m. lunch, 4:30 p.m. snack

·         West End 12:30 p.m.