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“Books on Buses” to Enhance Reading Opportunities for Children

books on busesValley Metro and the Roanoke Public Libraries are teaming up to launch the new “Books on Buses” program, to promote reading to young children in the City of Roanoke.

Three bus routes have been chosen to start the program which began on Monday, June 22. Parents with children will be invited to select a reading bag located at the front of the bus. Each reading bag will contain five books, with various reading levels. Parents will be encouraged to take a book home with them or return it to the reading bag to the rack as they exit the bus.

“We are excited about this new partnership,” said Sheila Umberger, Director of Libraries. “Reading and riding together makes transit more fun, encourages parents to read to their children, and helps support Roanoke’s Star City Reads campaign mission of increasing the
number of children reading at grade level by the third grade. Books on Buses will help our campaign reach more families across the city.”

Star City Reads, a grade-level reading campaign, was recognized as a 2014 Pacesetter for making measurable progress on student readiness outcomes. The campaign is characterized by a strong and extensive set of relationships and commitments among coalition partners focused on providing programs and services benefiting children and their families. Books on Buses is now the newest of these programs.

“The Books on Buses initiative will enhance reading opportunities for our youth and will serve as an introduction to public transit as an alternative form of transportation for many of the young people and accompanying adults,” says Carl Palmer, General Manager of Valley Metro.

The routes chosen to pilot this program are Bus 75/76-VA Hospital, Bus 11/16-Valley View and Bus 81/91 Goodwill Salem. These three routes, which serve the Melrose/Rugby, Williamson Road, and Landsdowne neighborhoods, were identified as having the largest number of family ridership.

For more information, please contact Roanoke Public Libraries at 540-853-2475.

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