The Bright Red Book Bus has again helped kids keep their eyes away from glowing screens and locked onto the written word.
“The program is really all about getting books in the hands of kids,” said Traci Anderson, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops.
“And the intention over the summer is to decrease the summer learning slide that happens.”
The Bright Red Book Bus has been providing literature to the children of Kamloops for six years, and this year delivered 3,263 books — and numerous health snacks — to the community during 80 bus visits.
There were an average of 40 visitors each day and, according to Anderson, graphic novels were the top genre for readers this year.
“Dog Man is one of the top favourites,” she said, though she noted books like Harry Potter also remain popular.
The Bright Red Book Bus is a project that was developed between the Boys and Girls Club, School District 73, Literacy in Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District library system.
It was developed as way to expand on the Bright Red Bookshelves that are located throughout the city.
The bus maintained a consistent schedule through July and August, with regular visits to nine schools and seven parks, often during special events. It also made a single trip up to Sun Peaks.
“It’d be nice if we could go everywhere and share it with everyone,” Anderson said. “But the feasibility of that’s not always easy. We’re always looking for sponsors for next year.”
The cost of the program in 2019 was $25,000, with some funding from the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs Program to cover the wages for two full-time staff over the summer months.
One of the larger expenses for the program is the cost of books, most of which are purchased for the book bus, though people are also encouraged to donate books at the Boys and Girls Club, which is in the John Tod Centre at 150 Wood St. in North Kamloops.
“Whether they go on the bus or they go through the bookshelves throughout town, we get them to where they need to go,” Anderson said.
Read All About It
The annual Raise a Reader Day will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
On that morning, notable Kamloopsians will fan out across the city, selling copies of KTW — which will include a Raise a Reader section.
Raise a Reader Day is a national initiative run through Postmedia Network, with non-Postmedia organizations like KTW getting involved.
Other Kamloops-area communities taking part include Barriere, Clearwater, Chase and Logan Lake.
All money raised goes to fund Literacy in Kamloops programs.