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Plant City teacher builds tiny 'Joyful Empowerment Libraries' to boost student reading at home

Kim Preziosi says readers are more empathetic
Posted at 5:15 AM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 07:08:43-04

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Kim Preziosi believes in the magical power of reading. Not just as a way to educate, but as a way to enlighten and inspire.

"Reading is empowering," said the teacher at Plant City's Springhead Elementary. "When we read, we get to go into the future and visit the past. Kids can see the world through someone else's eyes."

But when the pandemic struck, and Preziosi's young students were suddenly stuck at home, many of them told her they didn't have any books to read.

So Preziosi decided to change that in awesomely tiny ways.

With her husband's help, she's built two "Joyful Empowerment Free Libraries" in high-needs Plant City neighborhoods, and will soon unveil a third.

"My husband and I felt let's bring the libraries to the kids," she said. "Now they can walk down the street and grab a book."

Teacher friends help Preziosi stock the libraries, which are colorfully adorned with characters from Dr. Seuss, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Preziosi visits the libraries a couple of times a week, tidying up, restocking and switching out selections. Sure, sometimes books disappear completely, but even that's okay, she said.

If you'd like to donate books to the Joyful Empowerment Free Libraries, bring them to Springhead Elementary in Plant City.