OAKDALE, Pa. — A bus that is making its way around the community here is connecting children with learning opportunities.
But rather than taking the youngsters to school, the bus is bringing books to them. The new Book Bus aims to foster early literacy and kindergarten readiness for the West Allegheny School District’s youngest children.
The innovative mobile resource is a collaboration between the district, the Western Allegheny Community Library and Monark Student Transportation Corp. Monark, the district's school bus contractor, donated the small bus that was converted into the Book Bus.
“We are extremely excited about the partnership with the library and Monark, and anticipate tremendous benefit to our community as a result,” said Dr. Jerri Lynn Lippert, superintendent of the West Allegheny School District.
Lippert said that the school district, the library and Monark started holding planning meetings in October to get the Book Bus ready for community stops this summer.
In addition to taking ownership of the bus, the library planned to hire an early literacy outreach specialist to conduct early learning through the community visitation programs. The Book Bus will also circulate books to children of all ages and educational resources to parents.
The library on wheels will be available at various locations in West Allegheny — including a park, a pool, a community center and a fire station — during the summer. The district has posted a schedule for the Book Bus on Facebook.
In addition to donating the vehicle, Monark designed the Book Bus’ interior and exterior and took on the expenses to convert it. The bus accommodates shelving for more than 1,500 books as well as storage and reading areas. Monark will also provide ongoing maintenance for the bus.
The partnership also received financial support from local municipalities, PTAs and other organizations.
“The Book Bus represents a true community partnership that will remove barriers and promote literacy for all of our children,” Lippert said.