The newly equipped Schenectady bookmobile will hit the streets on Wednesday

SCHENECTADY – The Schenectady City School District Mobile Library is set to hit the streets on Wednesday after a donated school bus upgraded, a diverse collection of books expanded, and reopened a general sense of things.

The district bookmobile, newly wrapped in student art, is expected to visit four locations around the city on Wednesday, offering students who have spent the year learning remotely a chance to peruse new books. “We’re going to bring the books to the students,” said Michael Sheridan, library media specialist at Oneida Middle School. “We’re trying to make sure everyone understands that the reading doesn’t stop in June and get ready again in September.”

The district bookmobile program was created years ago when teachers volunteered to distribute books at an annual block party and other events throughout town, relying on cars. teachers to transport the books from one place to another. Like most other school programs, the Bookmobile went completely virtual during the pandemic, expanding the e-book collections available to students.

But after Northland Transportation donates a small school bus to the district and SEFCU pledges to fund the bus’s wrapping in decorative art, the bookmobile that will roam the city streets on Wednesday is a vision. more fully realized of the bookmobile than what has been seen yet. .

The bookmobile, run by the district library media specialist team, aims to build excitement around reading and introduce students to new books by various authors and with diverse characters. The main goal, the librarians said, was to give all students in town access to books where they can “see themselves” in characters and authors.

“Reflecting our students in our books is the primary focus,” said Carmella Parente, District Director of Education Equity and Pedagogical Support.

The idea is quite simple: kids are more likely to be interested in and actually read a book that they can connect with on a personal level, and if kids read, then they learn. The diversity of texts can also strengthen students’ awareness of the differences that shape society.

Last year, the district won a $ 15,000 grant from educational book publisher Follett, allowing for a wide expansion of titles ahead of this summer’s bookmobile projects.

The bookmobile collection, which will constantly change to ensure that students always find new titles, consists of books published within the past two years. Many of the books filling the bookmobile last week as librarians readied it for this week’s release were brand new copies; students will have the chance to break the backbone of a new book.

“We’ve loaded up as much as we can right now,” said library specialist Megan Eddy, noting that more than half of the overall bookmobile collection couldn’t fit for the first bookmobile race this week.

The bookmobile will also include adult books – like the memoir by Michelle Obama, Becoming – and librarians said they plan to encourage parents to share finding and reading books with their children.

“It’s a family event to sit and read,” said Kris Marotta, elementary school library specialist. “We encourage parents to choose a book with their little ones. “

The new bookmobile will carry the hallmark of student art as it travels around the city. The donated bus was wrapped in a large digital art print produced by junior Alyssa Gangaram from Schenectady High School.

The junior’s drawing represents the types of faces she sees every day at school: all kinds. The books stacked under and behind the diverse, smiling faces provide a window to countless new worlds, she said.

“I opted for something that would show the reading in the light I see it, in such an immersive way,” Gangaram said. “I think reading is like a window into so many different worlds, and I thought it would be great to include the diversity of the community and the inclusiveness of the books.”

Gangaram, who said it would be surreal on Wednesday when she found the bus carrying her artwork around the city, said she believed the neighborhood’s diversity was one of her greatest strengths.

“I really think the diversity of Schenectady is such a good thing that we have going for us,” Gangaram said. “I think diversity is such a great way to learn about other cultures and other people and get to know people long before you go out into the world.”

The bookmobile will stop at the following locations on Wednesday:

  • 11:30 a.m. to noon: Saline Street near Yates Elementary School
  • 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m .: In front of Central Park Middle School
  • 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m .: In front of Hamilton Elementary School
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m .: In front of the Van Corlaer primary school

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