NPR logo Sitting With Books In Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sitting With Books In Oklahoma City, Okla.

Jennifer Jones, children's librarian. Courtesy of Jennifer Jones hide caption

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Courtesy of Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones, children's librarian.

Courtesy of Jennifer Jones

Some Oklahoma City parents use the Capitol Hill public library as a babysitting center. They drop children off when the library opens; they pick them up when it closes.

Certain librarians might see this as a nuisance. My girlfriend, Jennifer Jones — the children's librarian — sees it as an opportunity. And she is developing the Safari After-School Project, a program for the kids that includes mentoring and tutoring.

Funding is scant. But done well, such programs could transform libraries from relics of a previous age into vital parts of the community again. And change young lives as well.

Zachary Heath is an accounts distribution clerk for an energy company. He listens to KGOU.