A Provo 7-Eleven Promotes Literacy with Mini-Library for Children

Feb 26, 2013

To create a culture of reading in his community, one man turns to Slurpees. This is how a Provo store owner is encouraging children to read.

A 7-Eleven sits on 300 South and Freedom Boulevard in Provo. Customers come and go to buy gas, food and of course slurpees. But this 7-Eleven has something you wouldn’t expect from a convenience store, it’s running a mini-library for children. 

“The kids that come in here are absolutely ecstatic about the program.  They’re excited to see that they can get books here.” 

That’s store owner Todd Hansen who came up with the idea to place a small children’s library at his 7-Eleven. Todd says he wanted to would help promote literacy in his neighborhood. So Todd went to the United Way and asked for help.  

“I’ve got most of these books from the United Way. Since I started doing this I’ve had a lot of people donate books.”

Children are allowed to borrow one book out of a collection of more than a hundred. Once they have read the book and returned it, they tell an employee about what they read and receive a prize.

“I’ve always been a big advocate of awarding people who’ve accomplished things.  I think it’s important to give recognition to people who have done something of value.  So I always recognize the children with a free slurpee or a free balloon when they bring back their book and tell us what it’s about.” 

Todd says the free slurpees aren’t the reason why kids like coming back to his store again and again.  

“Ironically enough they are not so much excited about the product they are receiving for accomplishing it.  They come in and tell us about [the book] and immediately run back over here to grab another book.”