YES, YOU CAN REALLY KEEP IT!

July 25, 2021

“Can I really keep this book,?” was a common response as the ReadOKC On the Go mobile book bus visited school sites for the first time the past few weeks. Unlike many bookmobiles, ReadOKC On the Go uses the model of allowing kids to keep the book they select for their own home library. This is an important piece of ReadOKC’s goal to provide access for students, and allowing kids to build a home library is a valuable component of encouraging more reading at home.

The ADA compliant bus, provided to ReadOKC and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools by Oklahoma City Public Schools, was transformed into a book bus by removing seats and adding book shelves inside that can house more than 3,000 books. The district retains ownership of the bus and provides district bus drivers.

The bus is wrapped with artwork that is modern and whimsical, depicting the places readers can go when they lose themselves in reading. The book shelves are bright and colorful and organized by genre so volunteers can guide visitors to their areas of interest. Every student leaves with a book of their own choosing, complete with a book mark, coloring page (good for all ages) and a stamp inside for their name.

The bus launched during the last two weeks of OKCPS’s July summer school sessions and visited six school sites. Nearly 400 books were given away to students from kindergarten through high school age. The goal is to distribute at least 10,000 books by the end of the calendar year and plans are being finalized to visit every school site, as well as community partner events, festivals and parades throughout the school year.

Projects like this are only possible because of strong partnerships and support. From the school district giving access to buses to the vendors who did the retrofitting work, to the volunteers who put countless hours into organizing the books and signing up for school visits, to the generous funders who provided support for the retrofitting and initial book supply…all are key players in making this bus come to life for our students.

The journey is just beginning, but the bus is rolling. The smiles on the faces of our students when they understand that they really do get to keep the book affirms that it was a project worth the effort.