The Traveling Bookmobile at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) Katy delivers books to children in suburbs of Katy, Texas who lack transportation to the public library or who do not have books at home to read. Books are available in both Spanish and English.
Research has shown that one of the most important steps to help children learn to read and become life-long readers is to get books into their hands and homes. For some families, especially families that struggle financially, this can be difficult. Parents may not have the time or the means to take their children to the library, and some may be intimidated by the process of applying for a library card or finding appropriate books in the library.
Many of the children that live in the neighborhoods targeted do not have transportation to visit a library during the day. By bringing books, in both Spanish and English, the UHV traveling bookmobile provides a service that is lacking. By including parents in the outreach, the hope is to interest them in reading with their children or in learning to read themselves.
Drs. Amy Barnhill and Janelle Bouknight, UHV professors of education in the School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development, began the UHV Traveling Bookmobile in 2017. Even though they didn’t have a bookmobile in the beginning, they used their own vehicles to deliver the books. One or two children began to visit the bookmobile and then others followed. An average of approximately 29 students per week visit the bookmobile, with 75 repeat students and 382 books checked out so far.
Through this project, UHV students, who assist with the bookmobile, learn about the needs in the community and learn how to interact with and teach at-risk students. Observing children outside of school with their families can provide a worldview that can't be experienced in the classroom or through student teaching. It provides a fun learning experience for UHV students studying to be teachers, and a fun learning experience for children who will benefit from books in their lives.
An initial grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provided over 700 books for the bookmobile. A bus has been provided by UHV but, with state budget cuts, the University budget is unable to pay for operating costs for the bus for the initial year. Funding from the Innovation in Libraries Awesome Foundation Chapter will be used for gasoline, maintenance, etc., so the bus can be utilized to deliver books to the children. The bookmobile is an awesome program and children are really excited to see the bookmobile when it arrives.
The University of Houston‐Victoria (UHV), a dynamic destination university in the Coastal Bend Region of Texas, is dedicated to providing students with educational and leadership opportunities that empower them to be successful 21st century professionals and citizens in the global economy. UHV is located in Victoria, Texas, but also has a campus in Katy, Texas. Professors at UHV are dedicated to assisting ALL children and youth in reaching their potential by overcoming barriers that hinder literacy development. The UHV Traveling Bookmobile is one of these efforts.
What our grantee has to say:
"Through this project, UHV students who assist with the bookmobile will learn about the needs in the community and also learn how to interact with and teach at-risk students. Observing children outside of school with their families can provide a worldview that can't be experienced in the classroom or through student teaching. It provides a fun learning experience for UHV students studying to be teachers, and a fun learning experience for children who will benefit from books in their lives."
What our trustees have to say:
"This project is a valuable asset to the community and will have a direct impact on town and gown relations."
"It's an excellent opportunity for future teachers to understand the continued importance of physical books and the growing impact of the digital divide in this country."
Funded by Libraries (September 2018)