Red Deer’s Deanna Hudon looks at the books available at Sorensen Station through the Books on the Bus program in the city. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Books on the Bus in “desperate need” of children’s books

Red Deer’s Books on the Bus is in “desperate need” of soft-cover children’s books.

Since its introduction to Red Deer last year, the Books on the Bus program has been incredibly successful, said Red Deer community facilitator in social planning Dianna Souveny, but lately they’ve been running a little low on books for transit-riding children.

“Children’s books are usually the first to go,” said Souveny. “They are always well used and over the summer they’ve been in high demand. We always have trouble keeping children’s books on the buses and the mobile carts because they go very quickly.”

A pilot project for Books on the Bus began last January, before becoming a permanent fixture to Red Deer’s transit in June, 2016. The program encourages transit riders to “take it, read it and share it,”whether that’s by recycling the book back into the program when you’re done reading it or sharing it with a friend.

While many adult books are recycled back into Books on the Bus, that’s not the case with children’s books, Souveny said.

“I think the children’s books often find a home and are hopefully being used and re-read,” she said.

In November, there will be a Red Deer Rebels book drive – the second straight year they have done one. Last year, about 800 books were donated through that drive and it’s hoped even more with be donated this year.

Souveny said she hopes to see book drives started throughout the city.

“A book drive would be great. If people wanted to organize their own book drives with schools or their workplaces, that’d be great.”

Through the project’s first 18 months, about 15,000 books have been donated.

“It’s been very positively received both in the donations from the public as well as the usage of the books,” said Souveny.

Since its creation, the project has been duplicated in Medicine Hat and Banff, while Winnipeg and Yellowknife are discussing the use of Books on the Bus.

“It’s great seeing people use the idea successfully,” she said.

Book donations are accepted at the Downtown Recreation Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre, Collicutt Centre, Sorenson Transit Station, COSMOS North and Red Deer City Hall.

The donated books must be paperback and in good condition.

Books on the Bus is a Red Deer and district Family and Community Support Services funded project. That organizations also teams with Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, COSMOs, Red Deer Public Library and Red Deer Transit.

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