Book Nook Opens Saturday at Westridge Mall

We are opening a Book Nook at Westridge Mall this Saturday at 9:45am, just prior to the Mall’s Back to School Fair. Michael Perkins and Karen Watson selected the color scheme and did the posters. Marie Pyko and Sherry Hess worked on putting together a supply of board books and toys for kids to play with at the Book Nook. It’s right next to the play area in the middle of the main level of the mall. We hope this area will spark interest in the Imagination Library and we hope to have storytime there in the future. If you and your family are free, please consider stopping by and watch us cut a ribbon and visit with families. t. Here is the media announcement, in case you get questions while at work.


The United Way of Greater Topeka and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library are announcing a new early literacy area at Westridge Mall. On Saturday, July 27 at 9:45 a.m. the Book Nook at Westridge Mall will open to encourage kids and parents to read and learn through play. Books and toys are available in the space located next to the play area in the middle of the mall’s first level.

“We love supporting creative ideas like the Book Nook,” said Jessica Lehnherr, United Way of Greater Topeka executive director. “The more we encourage reading everywhere we work and play, the more we become a community that deeply values literacy and learning. We can’t thank Westridge Mall enough for envisioning this space and the library for transforming it.”

The Book Nook features toys, books and information about how to encourage reading to your preschooler. Families will find information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and how-to sign-up their children (ages 0 to 5 years) for a free book mailed to their home every month.

“This dedicated reading nook at the mall will give families a convenient place to stop and read,” said Marie Pyko, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library public services director. “July has been a wonderful month for the early childhood literacy initiatives in our community.”

On July 10, the Kansas Health Foundation presented the library and United Way with a $228,000 grant for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This was followed by the Shawnee County Campaign for Grade-level Reading Summer Celebration with more than 300 kids and their families experiencing playful learning at the library. The event was sponsored by 21 community organizations that work to reduce the gaps in school readiness and summer learning loss.

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Every child should have books in their home. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library makes that easy and free. Imagination Library provides up to a 60-volume set of books beginning with the children’s classic “The Little Engine That Could.” Each month a new, carefully selected book is mailed in the child’s name directly to their home. This is a free program funded by The Library Foundation\Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and United Way of Greater Topeka.

The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) launched Can’t Wait to Read, a statewide campaign showing parents and caregivers why their kids need to experience reading, starting when they are just a few months old. The campaign also elevates the abundant reading resources available across the state and lets parents know they have what it takes to give their kids a successful future.

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