The West Ottawa Education Association has been operating a summer Bookmobile – a library on wheels to bring reading to kids. This year, the program got a new bus, thanks to fundraising, community sponsors, and school district support.
Members of the local union gave 1,000 hours of labor to sand, paint, and install bookshelves, enough to hold 4,500 books. A grant from NEA purchased books for social-emotional learning.
Retired WOEA member Cherie Versendaal has staffed the program for 43 years.
This year new rules require masks and limit the number of non-related individuals who can browse at any time. High contact areas get wiped down after each stop, and staff wear masks and gloves at all times.
WOEA Secretary and first-grade teacher Kelsey Smoker recently visited the bookmobile with her son, Crew. “Yay! New books!” Smoker said. “He was getting tired of reading the same old ones we have at home.”
When the bookmobile returns to their neighborhoods, children can return their books for new ones.