Khalil Chebbi, the Senior Class president at Coral Reef Senior High and a native of Palmetto Bay, was inspired by the difficult circumstances of this year to do something positive, so he founded and organized “The Travelling Library Miami.”
The project’s slogan is “Giving Children a World to Explore this Summer.” The Travelling Library has books for school children from kindergarten to fifth grade.
“Research shows that children who do not read over the summer, fall behind in the upcoming school year, also known as the ‘summer slide’,” Chebbi said.
Growing up, he knew the value of staying active and engaged during those summer months.
“Ever since I was a kid my mom and dad were working full-time, so in the summer they would put me in summer camps, and after work they would take me to events at the library,” Chebbi said. “This year I’m a senior so I don’t have to do that anymore and can do more by myself.
“I realized that with all the COVID-19 closures of the libraries there really wasn’t an opportunity for little kids to grow and learn throughout the summer break. The libraries are closed, the summer camps are closing down, so that’s when the idea popped into my head that since people can’t go to the library and get books to educate themselves, why don’t we take the library to them?”
To do it he needed to gather the books and arrange transportation for them.
“It was fairly easy,” he said. “I have three siblings, so we have four sets of books that we used throughout our childhood, so that’s where I started with the inventory for the traveling library, and then with the help of my friends and the help of local donors we grew from 50 books available to about 350 in a span of months.”
He said that originally there was some difficulty getting drivers to deliver the books because of fear about the COVID-19 virus.
“But when I told them that I was cleaning all the books, there was no contact delivery between anyone, it was just me giving you all the books in zip lock bags and you delivering them to all the mailboxes, everybody was very up for it. I have friends who live in Kendall, friends who live in South Miami, and other cities. I asked them if they could deliver these books for me every Monday, and they all agreed.”
All books are used, and their conditions vary. Each of the books is thoroughly and safely sanitized between readers.
To register for the free program parents are asked to do the following:
1. Sign up on the form at https://forms.gle/RruqtyfG38fPpdkC9 for your child.
2. Your child picks a book every one to two weeks.
3. Every week a book will be dropped off at your home and the previous book picked up.
The program also is taking book donations and financial donations.
For information, send an email to Travellinglibrarymiami@gmail, call 786-763-3320 or visit Instagram:@travellinglibrarymiami.