WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department, along with Watermark Books & Cafe, is working on a program called “Building Bridges through Books”.
The program is made possible through a $160,000 grant from the Impact Literacy Initiative of the Wichita Community Foundation.
The program launches today, and in the next few days,14,000 Wichitans will receive a card in the mail inviting them to participate in the program and receive several free books directly from the officer’s hands.
“Families will receive the card, and they can contact Watermark Books & Cafe to sign up. We will connect the families to the police officers. We have blanketed the city evenly throughout, so that the community officers will work to get the books delivered,” said Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe.
A few weeks after the books are delivered, there will be a community gathering in each quadrant of the city to discuss the books with the officers.
“We will have a community gathering several weeks after the drop of the books. We will have it three times a year. We don’t want to do it once. We want to create a conversation between the books, the police, and the citizens,” said Bagby.
“Unfortunately, most of the time, police contact is during a crisis,” said Officer Charley Davidson, Wichita Police Department. “This is an opportunity to build bridges through books, for us to build a bridge with our community in connecting through these books and reading these books. ”
Books have been selected for all age ranges, entertainment value, discussion points, and the quality of writing. If you receive a postcard and want to participate, the bookstore will work to get the books to you.
“They contact the bookstore. We have several questions to ask about the family. The number of children in the home, what ages they are? We will select the books, and we will take the names according to the community officer in that region. The officers will deliver the books over a period of about a week. Within the book, there will be information about the book, some discussion questions, and also about the community event where we can all come together to talk about the book and have some snacks and get to know each other,” added Bagby.
For more information, contact Watermark Books & Cafe at 316-682-1182.