OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego YMCA’s bookmobile was officially christened Tuesday evening as a crowd of nearly five dozen looked on.
Oswego City School District is “Driving Books Home” this summer with the help of the bookmobile.
The goal of the program, which grew out of last year’s Oswego Reads event, is to encourage youngsters to continue reading over the summer so they don’t lose the skills they learned in school, according to Bill Riley, of the river’s end book store, the MC for the unveiling.
“This is a partnership that is community-wide,” he said.
Driving Books Homes is a cooperative effort between the district, the Oswego YMCA and SUNY Oswego. Riley also recognized the many sponsors and volunteers who have worked to make this project a reality.
The lead sponsor is Entergy, he said, adding the Youth Bureau, Pathfinder Bank and Key Bank are among the others offering support.
Glider Oil is providing fuel for the bookmobile, he added.
Refreshments for the reception were donated by C’s Farms, Cake Galore and More and Mary Gosek.
“We filled the bookmobile with books with the help of the Oswego City School District, the book store, friends of the Oswego YMCA and every one of you who donated books,” Riley said. “Thank you all.”
The bookmobile will hit the road on Wednesday (June 1) and begin visiting elementary schools in the district.
Some of the other possible sites the bookmobile will visit include the YMCA, Scriba Town Recreation and Fort Ontario Park, according to Joan Dain, a reading – writing teacher in the school district, who helped spearhead the effort.
“From the efforts of so many, so much has been accomplished,” said Deana Masuicca, director of the YMCA, who also helped bring the vehicle to Oswego. “In less than five months, the Oswego community has a bookmobile that keeps kids and teens reading throughout the summer.”
She cited Dain and Terri Delahunt-Daino for pulling the project together.
“I hope the bookmobile will be a source of knowledge and inspiration for the entire community for years to come,” she added.
Bill Crist, superintendent of schools, added his congratulations to everyone who made the bookmobile a reality.
Over the summer, students tend to show a regression in their reading skills, he noted.
“I can think of no better way to prevent that than by bringing a bookmobile into town, into the community, the neighborhoods. When this bookmobile comes into their neighborhoods and they hear the music playing and walk into the bookmobile and have an opportunity to pick up a book; that is the power of reading, the power of learning. We are very excited as a school district to be a partner in this,” he said.
Tammy Holden of Entergy said they are happy to be involved and think the project “will be a huge success.”
Delahunt-Daino admitted there were “some frustrating moments” trying to get the project completed.
Dain, at one point, compared herself to The Little Engine That Could and said, “I think I can, I think I can,” Delahunt-Daino said. “And I said, ‘yes you can!’”
She presented her friend with a copy of the children’s book at the unveiling ceremony.
“This could not have happened without Terri, either,” Dain said. “The mission of the bookmobile is really quite simply. It’s about getting books to kids and empowering them to be great readers.”
Thirty-five OHS students, from freshmen to seniors, have already volunteered to help with the bookmobile’s maiden voyage this summer, Dain said.
The vehicle is stocked with books appropriate for students Pre-K – 12th grade – with a small section of reading material moms and dads may want to check out as well.
Those unable to attend Tuesday’s festivities will have a chance to view the bookmobile in the Fourth of July parade and the program will officially get under way that Tuesday, July 5.