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Advocate file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- East Baton Rouge Parish Library employees shelve books and unpack boxes in the Children's Room of the new Main Library building on Goodwood shortly before its 2015 opening.

Every summer, libraries in Louisiana and across the country offer special reading programs to help youngsters enjoy the power of books.

For three years now, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library has offered many children something else, too — an opportunity to have a meal during their library visit. The Main Library and a number of its branches have served as feeding sites for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Summer Food Service Program. It’s an especially important resource for youngsters whose families are challenged to provide nutritious meals during the weeks when school isn’t in session.

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In helping to host the feeding program at its facilities, the library often pairs mealtimes with summer reading activities, a great way to broaden Baton Rouge’s community of readers. That’s a worthy goal in a city and state where literacy skills could use a big boost.

This summer, 6,518 youngsters were served meals at nine library sites in the parish. Feeding both the body and mind is a notable accomplishment for any library. We commend the school system and the library for collaborating to make it happen.