Words on Words: Reading to the rescue in an old ambulance

5 mins read
Mt. Abram High School's librarian Lori Littlefield.
Mt. Abram High School’s librarian Lori Littlefield. (Photos courtesy of Kenny Brechner)

One of my favorite aspects of being a community bookseller is the opportunity to work with some truly inspiring educators. No one exemplifies this more than Lori Littlefield, the amazing librarian of Mt. Abram High School. Reasoning that her pay is spread out over 12 months while her workload is not, Lori has embarked on a summertime volunteer literacy outreach program she created herself called Reading Rescue. Obviously we need to find out more about it.

Kenny: So Lori what’s all this about you and books and ambulances?!

Lori: Well, Kenny. I feel I must be fully honest. I have always been what Mom calls “a wanderer,” as I love to drive. Add that to my being a tad bit jealous of the excitement of lights and sirens, as the only member in my family not an EMT and so never having driven an ambulance. Since I go pale by the sight of blood and get woozy with all things medical, I really couldn’t ever see myself driving a real ambulance, but with all the storage and shelving it could be re-purposed. All of these ideas floated around inside my head for about a month. When it collided with my retirement plan to drive a bookmobile, Reading Rescue was born. A former ambulance where all things medical were replaced with books, and I am one happy driver – minus the lights and sirens.

Kenny:  I see. Now if you were putting up a “help wanted” ad for a superhero to drive the Reading Rescue mobile (pictured below in before and after photos) what would the ad say?

before  Lori: Great question. One I must research thoroughly to brush up on my superheroes and their skills. — Okay, I’m back. I love the idea of Phoenix driving our rig, but the risk of open flames and books probably isn’t a good idea. Neither is Aqua Man’s need for water, and Wolverine could really use a manicure before handling books. The Green Lantern could light the rig on overcast days; the kids would love that, but needing a recharge on a beach far from power makes him less likely. Now that I’ve ruled out a few, I’m thinking of an ad something like this:

• Super hero wanted

• Must love children

• Be flame proof

• No water-related powers

• Nicely trimmed nails

• Caped heroes need not apply

Kenny: Which superhero would you pick if he or she applied?

Lori: Hmmm…tough question, but I think I’d have to go with Flash because of his speed, especially with reading and acquiring knowledge at a hyper-accelerated rate. He could read all of the books, and talk books with all of the kids. He could hyper deliver, and, being in an ambulance, he’d likely never get pulled over – though I would have to increase the insurance coverage, just in case.

Reading Rescue''s rig gets painted.
Reading Rescue”s rig gets painted.

Kenny: Well, this is pretty exciting. How can regular folks help out with Reading Rescue?

Lori: Regular folk – do you mean there are people out there without superpowers? Cool! I am still collecting gently loved books that would be appropriate for children, tweens and teens – any grade from kindergarten through 12th grade. Deliver them to any of the MSAD 58 school libraries: Phillips, Strong, Stratton or Kingfield. I can pick them up. If you have an abundance of quality books or any questions, call me at Mt. Abram High School 678-2701.

Kenny: Outstanding. We’re very excited to work with you on Reading Rescue!

Lori: Thanks so much, Kenny! The support has been phenomenal; superhero worthy and I really appreciate it. I am so excited about starting Reading Rescue. This summer is going to be super fun. I can’t wait…stay tuned for our summer delivery schedule.

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  1. Lori, are the books for sale or on loan or given away?
    Good luck with your adventures!

  2. Mary: Reading Rescue is primarily giving away books that have been donated to us for this adventure. I am making lendable the brand new books, mostly those in a series to ensure more readers can benefit. There will be NO books for sale…just getting kids to read the books is payment enough for me. And thanks for the luck!

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