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Franklin County Book Buggy provides second chapter for van

October 16, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A van purchased a few years ago for a pilot program to bring health care services to the elderly at their homes has been converted to serve a new demographic, bringing books to preschool children around Franklin County.

That state-funded health care program did not take off, but the Book Buggy did Tuesday, leaving the parking lot of the Grove Family Library to begin its rounds at about 40 preschool, day care and Head Start programs it visits. Although the service began a few weeks ago, the van just got its signature art work inspired by a preschool coloring contest and painted by Fort Loudon, Pa., artist Linda Best.

"They are going to flip," Lisa Skiles, the Book Buggy manager, predicted of the children's reaction to the newly decorated van. "So many of the children we serve most likely have never seen the inside of a library."

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This rolling library, which serves a different clientele than the Bookmobile, has about $5,000 worth of books and materials, said Franklin County Library System Director Bernice Crouse. The library purchased the vehicle, which had belonged to the state, through the county for $20,000 and another $10,000 in modifications have been made to it, she said.

TB Woods donated $50,000 to the project, and TB Woods Executive Michael Hurt and his wife, Patricia, donated another $25,000, Crouse said. Patricia is a retired librarian from the Scotland (Pa.) School for Veterans Children, Crouse said.

Genstar Capital LLC donated $10,000, Crouse said. Joel Wolfinger, representing the Rotary Clubs of Franklin County, said that member donations and a matching grant from the district added $6,000 more.

Crouse said the library's goal had been to raise enough money to buy the vehicle, stock it and fund operations for two years and "we're still about $15,000 short of our goal."

The Book Buggy was in response to a 2005 needs assessment in which child care providers said a mobile library was needed to promote early literacy.

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