New 'Reading Buddies' Initiative Links Libraries, Columbus Schools


The Columbus Metropolitan Library and Columbus City Schools have unveiled a new reading initiative.

Thousands of central Ohio third graders did not pass the mandatory reading proficiency test last October.  Under Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, if these same students do not pass the test this spring they will have to repeat the third grade.

In response, The Columbus Metropolitan Library has launched its own “Reading Buddies” initiative.

Columbus City Schools' Reading Buddies program consists of weekly 20-minute sessions with students who have been identified as needing extra help.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library said it wanted to build on the district's program and offer 15 minute reading sessions, after school, to all students who want to read.

"In this setting it's much more subtle, it's much more we're just having a conversation let's try this word again and so I think they can relax more with their reading,” said librarian Ruth Pettibone.

Parents say the after school sessions support what they try to do at home.

"I think this program is very helpful for her because I work six to six most of the time,” said Lucy Jallh a mother of a seven-year-old girl “So I am very happy to have programs like this to help her improve with her reading."

Lucy Jallh says her daughter loves to read and this program helps her see reading as a fun activity.

Librarian Ruth Pettibone says that’s key with children.

"If a child has not had that much exposure, or fallen in love with books before they start the skills, then it can be frustrating because they don't already have that joy connection and now it is a work activity,” said Pettinbone.

Pettibone says, there's no better place to learn to love to read than a library.


Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Reading Buddies program is free and available at Main Library and all 20 branches, however hours vary by location.

Driving Park – Monday & Wednesday from 5-5:45 p.m.
Dublin – Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. & Saturday from 2-3 p.m.
Franklinton – Monday & Wednesday from 4-5 p.m.
Gahanna – Tuesday & Friday from 4-5 p.m.
Hilliard – Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. & Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Hilltop – Monday & Thursday from 4-5 p.m.
Karl Road – Monday & Tuesday from 5-6 p.m.
Linden – Monday & Wednesday from 5-6 p.m.
Livingston – Tuesday & Thursday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Main Library – Tuesday & Wednesday from 4:30-6 p.m.
Martin Luther King – Tuesday & Thursday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
New Albany – Tuesday & Wednesday from 4-5 p.m.
Northern Lights – Wednesday & Thursday from 4-5 p.m.
Northside – Monday & Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Parsons – Monday & Thursday from 5-6 p.m.
Reynoldsburg – Monday & Wednesday from 5-6 p.m.
Shepard – Monday & Thursday from 5-6 p.m.
South High - Monday & Thursday from 5-6 p.m.
Southeast – Tuesday from 4-5 p.m. & Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Whetstone – Tuesday & Wednesday from 4-5 p.m.
Whitehall – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 4-5 p.m.

Interested students and families can stop in to any CML library location and find the Reading Buddies station in the children’s area. Adults interested in becoming a Reading Buddies volunteer can complete an online volunteer application.