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Madawaska police create library in lobby as part of youth outreach

MADAWASKA, Maine — Madawaska officers officially opened a miniature library Monday in the lobby of the police station to attract youth and make the department a more welcoming place for children.

Over 100 books, along with stuffed animal reading buddies line the shelves of the new lobby library. A local educator, who wishes to stay anonymous, contacted Madawaska Police Chief Ross Dubois about setting up the library after reading articles about other police stations that had done the same thing, according to Dubois.

“We wanted to do it,” Dubois said. “It gives us another way to have contact with the youth outside our regular law enforcement duties.”

Last week, a mother and her younger son went to the police station so the mother could ask a question. As they exited their car, the young boy became overwhelmed with anxiety and “threw up” in the parking lot, according to Dubois.

“We’re hoping to have something like this that will alleviate that anxiety that youth experience,” he said.

The majority of the books were donated by the Madawaska Public Library, but the movement has inspired some of the officers’ families to also give.

The way the lobby library works is children will have the opportunity to either come in and read a book, or take one with them. They also either can participate in the “take a book, leave a book” movement, or if a child really likes a book, they can keep it, Dubois said.

While there is no log for checking out books, the local library has teamed up with the police for its rewards program. If a child reads 10 books, the youngster can go to the public library and choose a prize out of the library’s treasure chest. Children who read books from the police station can use those in their total count toward a prize.

“Studies have shown a direct correlation between literacy rates and a reduction of youth crime,” Dubois said.

The library is located inside the lobby of the police station and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan

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