New bookmobile taking HISD’s literacy message on the road

Librarians Alice Hedstrom (Almeda ES), Cheryl Hensley (MacGregor ES), and Jo Ann Reed (Scroggins ES) and Library Specialist Gloria Dennis get ready to take the bookmobile on the road. Photo courtesy Muses3, LLC.

Librarians Alice Hedstrom (Almeda ES), Cheryl Hensley (MacGregor ES), and Jo Ann Reed (Scroggins ES) and Library Specialist Gloria Dennis get ready to take the bookmobile on the road. Photo courtesy Muses3 LLC.

Children living on the far north and south sides of Houston have a new reading resource this summer—and it will be coming to them.

HISD’s brand-new bookmobile will be visiting city parks in the North Forest and Sunnyside communities on alternating Fridays to provide children with a chance to pick out their own reading materials without having to visit a library.

The bookmobile made its debut at Tidwell Park (9720 Spaulding, 77016) on June 5, and will conclude its run on Aug. 7 at the Sunnyside Community Center (3502 Bellfort, 77051). The bookmobile was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education and the district’s Transportation and Library Services departments.

“We bought everything in paperback, so if the books don’t come back, it’s no big deal,” said Manager of Library Services Liz Philippi. “But the idea is to create a culture of reading in neighborhoods with not as much exposure to books. We’ll help kids select something they like, and then say, ‘Look, if you come back next week, I’ll find you another one like it.’ It’s that repetition that gets kids hooked.”

Philippi noted that the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant paid for everything but the bus and the gas, which HISD provides. “Without the Transportation Department, we wouldn’t be doing this,” she explained. “They let us use a bus, paid for the painting, and completely redid the interior so that we could have sliding bookshelves. I think they might be more excited about this than I am.”

The 10 HISD campuses mainly served by the bookmobile are: Codwell, Elmore, Frost, Hilliard, Law, Lewis, Marshall, Reynolds, and Shadydale elementary schools and Fonwood Early Childhood Center.

Please see this flyer (.pdf) for a complete schedule of times, dates, and locations.

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