- Sponsorship -

Tuesdays with more reads

Groups of excited students from Godfrey Elementary recently visited Kent District Library’s newest branch, peeking at the collection and meeting librarian Kelaine Mish. A few hours later, the branch zoomed away.

After four years of visioning and planning, Kent District Library’s Bookmobile  is up and running.

The Bookmobile

“This has been a dream come true,” said Mish, who has been a librarian at KDL for the past 18 years. “Just being able to come to the people, we can bring more tailored materials and offer focused story times. We’re so excited about being able to have that engagement, find out what people need, and bring that to them.”

The $350,000 mobile library has a biweekly schedule that alternates between schools, community centers, and underserved communities. There’s an exception to the biweekly nature of the schedule, however: for students and neighbors in the Godfrey-Lee School District, the Bookmobile will come every Tuesday, starting at the elementary school and then moving around the corner at the Early Childhood Center.

Godfrey Elementary student Serenity Reece boards the Bookmobile

This arrangement was made through the collaboration of KDL and Sydney Hanlon, Kent School Services Network’s community school coordinator at Godfrey Elementary.  KDL was looking for schools to partner with, and Hanlon jumped at the chance.

“KDL has said this is our Bookmobile and we can use it how we want,” said Hanlon. “We can pair it with the Feeding America food truck (that visits Lee High School) or use it in the summer to help stave off learning loss.”

Hanlon said she is grateful for KDL’s willingness to tailor its inventory and use to the unique needs of the district, which has a population that’s roughly 75 percent Hispanic and 50 percent English-language learners.

Some of the rotating collection on the Bookmobile

“You Already Belong Here”

Sara Proaño, community engagement manager for KDL, said the Bookmobile has been four years in the making and was made possible with financial support from several community partners. KDL had a red bookmobile bus in the mid-1980s called the “Bookie.” She’s excited to see a mobile library hit the road once again.

“When we started thinking about the underserved, we started thinking about this project,” said Proaño, “This is at the center of our efforts to increase reading for the third-grade reading law.”

KDL will partner with schools to support their needs and wishes, said Proaño, and will offer multilingual selections. Every student in Kent County will receive a library card, and there will be no fees associated with that card. Cards can be used in all branches, including the Bookmobile.

Godfrey Elementary student Serenity Reece browses books on the Bookmobile

“This is a place where nobody’s going to ask you where you are from or what you’re here for. You can come and go as you wish. Everybody’s welcome. You don’t have to do anything to belong here. You already belong here,” said Proaño.

Harry Coffill, library and media specialist for Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, said the district is excited about this new asset to the school and community.

“I think cooperating with KDL to get books in kids’ hands is so important,” he said. “We do what we can as a public school library, but to have a Bookmobile that’s going to visit the neighborhoods and provide a tailored reading collection is really important.”

- Sponsorship -
Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza
Bridie Bereza hails from Lansing and has worked in the Grand Rapids area as a reporter, freelance writer, and communicator since graduating from Aquinas College in 2003. She feels privileged to cover West Michigan's public schools and hopes to shed a little light on the amazing things happening there through her reporting.


Students reopen fine-dining restaurant six months after closing its doors

GRCC’s The Heritage has reopened to the general public, with culinary students cooking, baking their way toward degrees...

Plotting for a plot

Students’ hand-drawn maps are meant for the safekeeping of memories and to spur ideas for when they write personal narratives...

Outdoor lover, zen seeker, middle-schooler hope-giver

Bill Cataldo is the new K-8 principal for Cedar Springs’ new Red Hawks Online virtual school this year. School News Network took some time to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Supply kits for online learners help ensure student success

Teachers find creative ways to get resources into students hands that align with curriculum...

Virtual community meeting Thursday to discuss district bond proposal

An online community meeting Thursday will give voters information about the Nov. 3 ballot proposal asking for a $17.79 million bond issue...

Ready or not, school year begins as leaders adopt plans to teach, protect students

With most of Kent County’s public school districts opening next week, superintendents talk about their plans to educate students while trying to keep them safe from an unpredictable virus...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU