OSWEGO, NY – Once upon a time, in a far away land called Ohio, a little bus sat in a dark garage all alone. It wished that it had some children to keep it company.
In the spring of 2011, its wish was granted as a contingent of volunteers traveled from Oswego to visit the vehicle. They christened the little bus the Oswego Bookmobile and drove home.
Shortly before the fateful trip, a group of volunteers had convened to brainstorm ways to reach children who weren’t participating in various programs offered throughout the community and through the schools, according to Terie Delahunt-Daino, one of the organizers of the bookmobile project. The group concluded that some children were missing wonderful opportunities based on where they lived and the only solution was to bring programs to them, she explained.
A bookmobile was their answer.
Oswego’s bookmobile operates differently from traditional bookmobiles. It delivers free books that don’t have to be returned. The bookmobile also delivers encouragement, modeled reading and activities to complement reading.
In its very first year, the project reached more than 1,200 children and distributed 3,859 books. Last summer, even more youngsters visited the Bookmobile as it rolled around to several locations.
Vandalism nearly thwarted the Bookmobile’s 2013 before it started.
While in storage over the winter, the bookmobile (among many other vehicles) was damaged.
The batteries were taken out of the bookmobile, and several other vehicles as well. Nothing else was reported missing.
“The five new deep-cycle batteries were ripped out of the bookmobile – leaving damage to the wiring left behind. They weren’t careful,” Delahunt-Daino said. “The school district stepped up to repair the damage and get us back on the road.”
Anyone with information about the crime, which probably took place in December, is asked to contact the Oswego Police Department at 315-342-8120. Any individuals wishing to remain anonymous may also contact the Oswego City Police Department’s tip-line at 315-342-8131, or email [email protected]
Recently, the mended Bookmobile hit the road to visit several elementary schools to get the youngsters excited about summer reading.
Each week, the Bookmobile will offer themed activities to go along with a specific selection of books, including dinosaurs, mysteries and aviation. One week will also feature live snakes, lizards and turtles.
“Suppose you get on the Bookmobile and you just can’t find the book you want to read,” volunteer Donna Myles asked the students. “We’re going to let you create a wish list this year and we will go out and try to get the books you want; so you will get one book that you really, really want.”
The Bookmobile will also be taking part in the movie nights (one in June, July and August) in East Park.
It will also visit Hamilton Homes, Oak Hill Park, Maiden Lane Trailer Park, YMCA Daycare and the farmers’ market among others.
While many gently used books are donated to the program, the steering committee continuously purchases new books to keep up with student demand and to provide books that are currently high interest, Delahunt-Daino noted.
The Oswego Bookmobile, also known as Driving Books Home, is a community based project that is guided by SUNY Oswego, the Oswego City School District, the YMCA and Oswego Public Library.
All services and books provided by the bookmobile are free.
For more information about the bookmobile project, visit www.oswegobookmobile.org visit their Facebook page or call the bookmobile office at 341-2033.