The Delaware Area Transit Agency (DATA) has put together a new idea that pairs riding with reading. Its “Books on the Bus” program has been implemented and features books placed in bags on DATA buses all around the Delaware area.
Currently, there are 10 buses taking part in the program. The bags are located either at the front or the back of the bus, depending on the configuration of the bus.
“We feel like it’s a win-win, because there are no costs to DATA,” Marketing and Community Relations Specialist Ginny Berry said. “Passengers get to enjoy a book. Both the books and the bags have been donated. And we feel like, in the age of so many electronic devices, there’s just something about having a book in your hand.”
The “Books on the Bus” program originated from Traci Cromwell, a former Delaware County Transit Board member, who wanted to ensure people of all walks were exposed to items many take for granted.
“Not everyone realizes books are a luxury item,” Cromwell said. “Some people can’t afford books, and kids aren’t exposed to them.”
Cromwell said the idea is similar to the free library stands that have become popular in neighborhoods. The stands operate under a “take a book, share a book” motto, a concept Cromwell wanted to bring to the buses. Similar to those library stands, the “Books on the Bus” program operates with a motto of “take one, read one, share one.”
Passengers can hold onto the book for as long as needed, or even keep the book if they have someone in mind to share it with. When finished, readers can return the book — and, perhaps, one from their own collection — to any bus with a “Books on the Bus” bag.
“Some of our passengers don’t get out a lot, so being able to get a book at the same time they go to the store or the doctor is an added convenience for them,” Berry said.
Books were collected by various Kiwanis clubs throughout Ohio, as well as at a First Friday event, and then donated to the program. The Polaris Area Kiwanis also donated $500 for the pouches to hold the books.
Cromwell said the program also takes into account there may be people utilizing the program with varying reading skills. Books of all reading levels are available to promote maximum inclusion.
Anyone interested in donating books in good condition can contact Berry at 740-368-9383 Ext. 1. Berry said that while they would be more than happy to receive books intended for any age, there is more of a need for adult books than children’s books at the moment.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.