North Richmond center will soon open early childhood reading room

North Richmond center will soon open early childhood reading room
The Shields-Reid Community Center in North Richmond will soon have an early childhood reading room thanks to generous grants. (Photo credit: City of Richmond)

By Kathy Chouteau

A new early childhood reading room that aims to prepare infants through Kindergarten-aged children for elementary school is nearing completion at the Shields-Reid Community Center in North Richmond.

The Shields-Reid Community Center Early Childhood Reading Room is nearing its final phase and has tentative plans to host a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, Feb. 29, at a time to be determined, according to Troy Porter, the community center’s recreation program coordinator.

The Reading Room project is the culmination of a process that began seven years ago when partners from the West Contra Costa County Library, Richmond Public Library and the City of Richmond’s Community Services Department held a series of meetings surrounding the concept of creating a new mini-library in Shields-Reid’s north wing.

According to Porter, the community center was the beneficiary of both a $50,000 grant from an anonymous donor and a federal ADA upgrade grant “in the millions” that helped them bring the Reading Room to fruition.

Once the Reading Room swings open its doors, it will play host to Weekly Story Times on Monday and Wednesday from 11-11:30 a.m. and also a new Tiny Heroes Program on Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that will include activities such as arts, crafts, games, Gymboree-style equipment, etc. Per Porter, call 510-620-6793 to register.

Pictures in the Richmond City Manager’s Weekly report previewed the Reading Room to be decorated with pint-sized bookshelves, bright blue couches and colorful rugs.

“It’s about starting the kids off early on with reading and activities that will prepare them to be successful in elementary school,” Porter said.

Shields-Reid Community Center is located at 1410 Kelsey St. in Richmond and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more info about the Reading Room or Shields-Reid Community Center in general, contact Porter at 510-620-6822 or [email protected].

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The Shields-Reid Community Center