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Antelope Lending Library Brings Kids More Than Books

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Cassandra Elton preps a group of elementary school kids before they head on to the Antelope Lending Library Bookmobile on Wednesday.

"If you have your form filled out, you can check out two books today," Elton says. "Does that sound good? Okay."

The kids march up the steps of the big blue and white bus into a world of books. The bus is lined with shelves stacked with copies for all ages, and that helps Fiona and Sophie Anderson find some reads they both want.

"But it doesn't matter because we're sisters," says Sophie.

That atmosphere of curiosity and sharing is exactly what Elton hoped to foster when she created the Antelope Lending Library. She originally wanted to create a stationary satellite library, but received the bookmobile from one of her initial donors, and the idea took off.

"I think that literacy is really important, and when you can make learning fun, I think that's really the best of both worlds," Elton said.

With the bookmobile making weekly stops at seven different schools and parks, parents tends to agree.

"Every opportunity I can get to encourage reading as opposed to video gaming is a point won," said Charles Williams, whose son was taking part in the library.

Those opportunities will soon be growing. The library just got a $3,000 grant to buy more books. They hope to pick up book in other languages, too, like French, Swahili and Spanish. Elton hopes that will help serve the immigrant population better.

"I think there's something really important about parents reading with their children, and when you have books in a language they're familiar with, they're  more likely to do that," Elton said.

Her goal is to bring all kids the chance to read, no matter where their world is.

To find out when the Antelope Lending Library will be in your neighborhood, check out the program's interactive map.

Find out more about the program on the Antelope Lending Library Tumblr site.

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