Virtual library debuts in old Flint school

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FLINT (WJRT) - (02/23/18) - A former Flint elementary school now has a new purpose to help the community increase literacy rates.

An old elementary school in Flint has been brought back to life with a new focus on learning.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning at the former Bunche Elementary School, as the The Flint Development Center on Martin Luther King Avenue launched their new Virtual Library and Family Literacy Center for the first time.

Shelly Sparks, Director of the Flint Development Center said, "You have to read to be able to get a job, or to do anything in life.
So, we're going to provide that opportunity for people.
As you know, the literacy rate in the city of Flint is so low, what we're hoping through this library that we can increase that."

Named after retired Bunche principal Willa J. Hawkins and Flint State Reprensentative Sheldon Neeley, this beacon of hope will be the focus of a new type of learning.

Hawkins commented, "I think it just says that it is not a, no longer a dying community, that there is life."

State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D- Flint) added, "Literacy is very important.
If you don't know, you can not do.
We understand we have literacy challenges for young people with a third grade reading proficiency and also some of the adults.
And this is going to be a warm, safe place for individuals to be able to gain that skill set."

The virtual library includes many computer stations that will bring the world, through the internet. The learning center was made possible by a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

And this is just the beginning for the Flint Development Center as other programs are under consideration, including recreation.

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