NewsCovering Kern County


Mini-libraries in Bakersfield aim to close literacy gap

Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 01:52:42-04

A little library can go a long way.

“What better gift to give a kid, than a gift of the book?” Bakersfield City Councilmember Eric Arias said.

Fourteen percent of Bakersfield adults lack basic literacy skills to do their jobs on a daily basis, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A partnership between the Community Action Partnership of Kern, Inyo Mono Building Trades Council, United way of Kern County, the Southwest 661 Union Carpenters, Assembly member Rudy Salas and Councilmember Eric Arias hope to close that literacy gap, by build little libraries across Bakersfield filled with free books.

It’s why Southwest Carpenters Union Representative, Josh Taylor said, Councilmember Eric Arias has taken the helm to help combat reading gaps through the east bakersfield literacy program. This initiative led Southwest Carpenters Local 661 to build the first of five little libraries, Thursday at the CAP-K friendship house. The other libraries will be built at the Bakersfield Boys and Girls Club, United Way Kern County, The Bakersfield Police Activities League, and the Sunrise Community Center.

“Bakersfield has been ranked one of the most illiterate cities in the United States, and illiteracy has a major impact on community members, being able to access well-paying jobs, wages and benefits,” Taylor said.

The books inside them came from the United way of Kern county’s book drive earlier this month, and donations from the sunrise community center.

“This is about building our future leaders, right? And giving them the tools that they need to have successful careers and successful lives,” Arias said. “And so many of these kids you see behind me grabbing toys and books, they’re preparing themselves. We’re equipping them with the tools and resources that they need to become successful in their life at a very young age.”