• Ridgeview Elementary students get their first look at the Books on the Run bookmobile
  • Ridgeview Elementary students enter the bookmobile for a sneak peak

Coming to You This Summer: Books

by Alexander Sinn  

District families who can't get to the library on Tuesdays this summer, don't fret: the library will be coming to you.

June 14 to Aug. 15, the "Books on the Run" Mobile Reading Unit will make six stops across the district on Tuesdays throughout the summer. To the sound of music -- much like an ice cream truck -- volunteers towing the bookmobile's trailer will deliver hundreds of books across reading levels and genres free of charge.

Tuesday Books on the Run stops:

Stop 1: 5:45-6:05 a.m. at Ida Red Apartments on Ida Red Avenue, down from Harvest Way (north side of the road, facing west)

Stop 2: 6:20-6:40 a.m. at Riverview Housing on Viking Drive (south end of playground)

Stop 3: 6:55-7:15 a.m. at Sparta Townhouses by AV @ Donna/JoAnn/Clark streets

Stop 4: 7:30-7:50 a.m. at Glenwood Estates, off Sparta Avenue (at office and mailboxes)

Stop 5: 8:10-8:30 a.m. at Dietrich Farms, 410 Wilson Ave.

Stop 6: 8:40-8:55 a.m. at Riveridge Land Co., 9850 Fruit Ridge (July and August dates only)

Volunteer staff from Sparta Area Schools, the Sparta Education Foundation, Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) and the community are partnering to serve a population that doesn't always have access to the library, said Deborah DuFour, Title Programs and Grants coordinator for the school district.

"Kids really want the books, they just can't get out to get them," she said. "Some parents are working and they just don't have the time."

The project has long been a dream, DuFour said, and when she realized that similar mobile libraries existed in other districts, she thought Sparta would be the perfect place to get one running.

With a donation from the Sparta Community Foundation, she was able to spearhead the effort to buy a trailer and $10,000 worth of books.

Many more books have been added through donations from a retired teacher, a local pharmacist and other sources.

There are numerous possibilities for expansion, DuFour said, but among them is adding books in Spanish to better serve the area's migrant population.

♥"English for some of them is a second language, so we need to go in and immerse them in their home language first, but then we come back to the English," she said.

Unveiling Books on the Run with its brightly painted sides has sparked a promising level of interest at each of the elementary schools, DuFour said, and teachers have been promoting it in their classes.

The staff will monitor the level of participation over the summer as they hope to grow and reach more community members, she added.

"I hope this thing goes crazy," DuFour said. "The kids just can't get enough of it, and I've got a really good response from staff signing up."

Superintendent Gordie Nickels said he hopes the effort will keep students reading over the summer and boost the school's ability to reach literacy initiatives goals.

Reading specialist Deb DuFour"One of the things we talk about is whether it's baseball or dance or playing an instrument, it's no different: the more you read, the better reader you become," Nickels said. "Anything you can to do pique interest and get kids excited about something and then that causes them to read, that's going to be a good thing."

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Sparta Education Foundation

Watch D.O.G.S.

Sparta Community Foundation

Submitted on: July 19th 2016

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