On a chilly day late in November, students at Regina Coeli School boarded the Rodman Public Library Bookmobile, books in hand.
Most eyes were bright, hinting there were smiles behind the masks. The students were eager to climb the three steps onto the 34-foot library on wheels to drop off their returns at the front, make their new selections, and then check them out at the back before returning to their classrooms.
“I have been looking forward to this all day,” said one third-grade boy.
Some of the students knew exactly what they wanted. Others took time to browse the shelves before picking out the books they would read for the next two weeks.
Bookmobile Manager Jamie Warnock greeted the students as they climbed in, taking their books and checking them back into circulation. She leafed through each one and wiped each cover to sanitize it before returning the books to the shelves.
Librarian James Sedoris was manning the back of the Bookmobile, taking each student’s card and scanning it along with the barcode on the cover of each book so that it was properly checked out. He knew many students by name and wished each and every one a good day as they walked out the back door.
Of course, both Warnock and Sedoris aided students in locating the materials they wanted -- Christmas and winter books being popular as Thanksgiving had just passed and they were among the new items on the truck during this biweekly visit to Regina Coeli School.
“Each season or holiday, we bring items that are specific for that time,” explained Warnock. “We try and keep what’s popular with the kids on board, and we will also bring specific items if they are requested by a student.”
There are always at least two librarians aboard the Bookmobile, which is also staffed by Jodie Gerber, Dan Cherry, and Jeff Kennedy.
The stop at Regina Coeli is one of 15 made every two weeks by the Bookmobile from September through May. The one community stop is at Copeland Oaks in Sebring. The other 14 stops are at schools, including each of the Alliance City Schools with the exception of the high school, each school in the Marlington Local School District, one made at the West Branch Early Learning Center and visits to Union Avenue Preschool, First Baptist Preschool and Regina Coeli.
In all, the Rodman Library Bookmobile impacts 145 classes in the greater Alliance area, serving an approximate 2,775 students of all age levels.
Warnock explained that the Bookmobile is more than just a traveling collection of random books. It also provides a valuable service for teachers in providing them with books they need for specific lessons and projects in their classroom, delivering book collections on request.
“For instance, teachers may need a set of biographies, so they let us know and we can gather them and bring them when we visit,” said Warnock.
Lisa Korosy, a fifth-grade teacher who has been at Regina Coeli for 43 years, has taken advantage of the Rodman Library book collections.
“The Bookmobile is useful to me as a teacher because I can request books to use in my classroom and they will gather and bring them to school for me,” said Korosy. “It is also useful because it gives the students a variety of books they can use for research, or to just read for enjoyment. At times, I have used the Bookmobile to get collections for Science projects and reports.”
Korosy added that the Bookmobile helps inspire children to read.
“I enjoy having the Bookmobile come to our school because the children enjoy it, and they look forward to getting new books and reading them,” said Korosy. “The Bookmobile helps kids stay interested in reading.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Regina Coeli third-grade teacher Ryley Snyder, a recent Mount Union graduate in her first year of teaching.
“The Bookmobile service has been really helpful in my classroom with getting my students motivated and excited about reading,” said Snyder. “When the students have the chance to visit the Bookmobile, they come back very enthusiastic about their book and enjoy getting to share their new book with myself and their classmates. At times it can be a challenge to get the students to want to read and find it exciting, but I can definitely say the Bookmobile has increased my students' interest in reading this year.”
Snyder added that the books her students choose from the Bookmobile are put to good use as part of their lessons.
“When working through the reading standards for third grade and with the students on their reading skills, I often have them refer back to their Bookmobile books to think about the specific skill. The students enjoy then getting to share to their classmates about how their book relates to what we are focusing on in the lesson. By doing this, I have had many times when students will share with me during silent reading time a way that their story fits into a lesson we have done so far without any prompting. This has been awesome to experience as a teacher and has really increased my students' interest in learning and reading.”
For Warnock and her staff, that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s important for us to be out here for both the kids and the teachers,” said Warnock. “All they have to do is call us and we are happy to deliver to them the materials that they want and the materials that they need.”
For more information about the Bookmobile, call 330-821-2665, ext. 108.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
Holly Power, Principal of Alliance Early Learning School, writes:
“The staff and students love the Bookmobile at Alliance Early Learning School! It gives the students an opportunity to have a real-life library experience right in our own parking lot! Our students love being able to pick out books chosen just for their interests and levels. For many, this is their first experience using an actual library card, and they take the responsibility very seriously! At AELS, we promote reading with your child every single day. The Bookmobile is an important part of promoting literacy in our building.”
Mallory Chevraux, Intervention Specialist at Marlington Middle School, writes:
"Our students look forward to going to the Bookmobile every other Monday. They get excited to check out books about cars, sports teams or even just picture books to look at when they have completed their work. The Bookmobile is also very helpful for the teachers. The librarians are helpful in tracking down specific books requested or providing classroom sets of books to be used for reading instruction. At Marlington Middle School, we love the Bookmobile.”
Robert Graham, Principal at West Branch Early Learning Center, writes:
“The Rodman Bookmobile has brought an outside element that some of our students do not get to experience. The Bookmobile has been a wonderful community partner in allowing the students of the Early Learning Center to use their library cards to check books out as if they were in a regular library. The students and staff always look forward to the twice-a-month visits from the Bookmobile and their staff. I cannot wait to continue this partnership in the future.”