Meet the Curiosity Cruiser

Cruiser Blog

Meet the Curiosity Cruiser

Happy New Year! Some of you may know who we are but for those of you who don’t, we are the Curiosity Cruiser and want to take this chance to introduce ourselves to everyone.  

This blog is designed to keep you up to date regarding the cruisers where-a-bouts, activities, and much more.  

Without further ado, lets us tell you about who we are.  

What is the Curiosity cruiser? 

The Curiosity Cruiser is a program led by Harris County Public Library in partnership with the Barbra Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. Our goal is to provide children, who might not otherwise have access, with free literary materials and programming.  

What kind of Books do you have, and are they free? 

The Curiosity Cruiser mostly focuses on ensuring that every kid that stops by gets a free book to take home and keep. Yes, you heard me right, FREE. We do take books available for check-out from the library system with us to some sites, but we make sure they are carefully marked, and patrons are aware they differ from their free book.  

We carry a wide variety of books. Our selection has something for everyone in a range from age 0 to 18 years. There are picture books, early readers, beginning and middle chapter, and young adult novels. We even have a good selection of graphic novels! 

What kind of programming and events do you do? 

We do all sorts of programming. Our focus right now is providing the communities we visit with pop-up libraries. For this type of program, we set up in community center parking lots or parks for a couple hours. Each child that stops by has the chance to pick out a free book and pick up a take home STEM activity kit. 

When we are allowed to start doing hands-on programing again, we will work with different community centers and set up weekly “classes.”  Here, children that sign up can pick out a book and take part in a either a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or literacy-based lesson. These lessons include things like NaNoWriMo, skits, Lego robots, paper roller coaster construction, coding, and so much more.  

Other event programming includes food drives, holiday parades, school visits, fairs, and anything else we are invited to attend.  

Does my child have to be with me to get a book? 

We understand that children have all kinds of after-school activities, and they might not always be with you. If you ever see us and stop by, just let us know how old your kiddo is and we will let you pick out a book for them. It doesn’t matter if you are mom, dad, grandma, aunt, or any other relation to the child, or even if it’s more than one child, if you have kids at home we will help find them a good book.   

How many vehicles are in the fleet? 

The fleet currently consists of 3 vehicles, but was just approved for a fourth! Our vehicles include a modified box delivery truck and 2 modified utility vans. Curiosity Cruiser 1 (CC1), the box delivery truck, is our biggest vehicle. You are most likely going to see this one at park events or school giveaways. Our other 2 cruisers, Curiosity Cruiser 2 (CC2) and Curiosity Cruiser 3 (CC3), are used for programing and park pop-ups. CC2 is a literacy-based programing vehicle, whereas CC3 is our STEM-based vehicle. This means more shelves for CC2 and extra counter space and tablet lockers for CC3. 

Take a tour of the Curiosity Cruisers

How many books do you give away?  

 In 2021, we gave away 24,267 books and saw 23,561 children! We hope to give away even more this year.  

Now that you’ve gotten the chance to learn about us, we hope to see you all at our future events and site visits! 

For the current semester our weekly schedule is as follows: 

Monday:  

Grayson Community Center 

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM 

13828 Corpus Christi St, Houston, TX 77015 

Riley Chambers Community Center 

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

808 1/2 Magnolia Ave, Crosby, TX 77532 

Tuesday: 

Spring Branch Family Development Center 

11: 00 AM – 1:30 PM 

Break 

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM 

8575 Pitner Rd, Houston, TX 77080 

Thursday: 

Finnigan Park Community Center 

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

4900 Providence St, Houston, TX 77020 

Lincoln Park Community Center 

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

979 Grenshaw St, Houston, TX 77088 

*Cruiser stops are weather permitting. The cruiser also follows the same holiday schedule as the other library branches. Please check our social media each day for any notice of cancelation. * 

Check out http://www.hcpl.net/blog  for more Harris County Public Library related blogs!

What Kids Think About the Curiosity Cruiser

 The Curiosity Cruiser strives to provide the children who visit with good books and a smile. We love seeing kids leave with a new book they will love. This is what preschooler Briseid Flores receives every week.

On Tuesdays, Briseid and her mother stop by the Curiosity Cruiser, at Spring Branch Family Development Center, to check out library books and pick out a free book to keep.  We decided to ask her what she thought about the overall experience.  Here is what she said:

Curiosity Cruiser (CC): Do you like reading?
Briseid: YES! I really like it.

CC: What is your favorite subject or book?
Briseid: My favorite books are Peppa Pig, William and Piggy, and Mulan!

CC: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Briseid: I want to be a painter. I love painting and art!

CC: Have you received books from the Curiosity Cruiser?
Briseid: YES. Angelina Ballerina, Mulan and others. I love them.

CC: What do you like best about the Curiosity Cruiser?
Briseid: I get a new book every week and like the crafts that are given out.

Her mother, Genesis Garcia, went on to add, “ Every week my child gets enrichment, and a new book! It’s something new, and it’s wonderful that you guys are out here providing books for children. Her vocabulary has improved, and we can’t wait for the next Tuesday when you guys are here! Thank you !”

Thank you Briseid and Genesis! We love seeing you out at our stops and we look forward to many more visits.

To everyone else reading, please feel free to swing by any of our stops and say hi.

Check out http://www.hcpl.net/blog  for more Harris County Public Library related blogs!

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Curiosity Cruiser is a state-of-the-art mobile library that provides Houston children with access to books and exciting educational programs that integrate reading with science, math, technology, writing, and the arts.

Harris County Public Library
713-274-6600
CuriosityCruiser@HCPL.net
HCPL.Net

The Harris County Public Library system provides a broad range of traditional and online library services through 26 branch libraries in Harris County, Texas.