OXFORD — Not all kids in the Oxford Hills area can make it to the library, so each summer, the library goes to them.

On Thursday, the bookmobile made its weekly stop at the Specialized Programs and Preschool Child Care Center on Madison Avenue in Oxford, run by Community Concepts where employees and volunteers read books to the children and sing with them before giving them access to hundreds of books.

About 20 preschoolers listened to volunteers Sharon Dolleman and Lillian VanOrder read picture books, including “Froggy Eats Out,” about an impatient frog eating at a fancy restaurant. Eventually, Froggy makes a mess and his parents take him to a fast-food restaurant for “burgers and flies.”

After reading time, Amanda Diffin of Community Concepts led them in singing “Five Green and Speckled Frogs.”

When it neared the time to pick a book to borrow for the week, the kids were impatient, too, peering over to the plastic bins filled with preschool-age books. Some ran to the bins and started digging as soon as they got permission.

The bus is a project run by Oxford Hills Adult Education and the Norway Memorial Library. According to library Director Ann Siekman, the bus was originally funded by Maine Reads.

Siekman said Maine Reads asked community members to get together and find a need in terms of literacy. “The need that we saw was that children need to read over the summer so that their skills are maintained,” Siekman said.

The problem was that a lot of kids don’t have transportation to the library. The bookmobile was born.

For six weeks in the summer, it visits the child care programs at elementary schools in Norway, Oxford and Hebron, as well as Alpine Park in Norway, Regency Park in Oxford and others in addition to the Preschool Child Care Center.

Siekman said activities include crafts at some of the locations with older children. Kids can borrow one book at a time. “Possibly some are getting the opportunity to read who might not otherwise have had that opportunity,” she said.

The bus driver and an activity coordinator are paid, and others take turns volunteering, Siekman said. The books are donated and, since the original Maine Reads funding dried up, it has been paid for by a Chinese-style auction.

Siekman said none of the books came from the library, as the bookmobile is a rolling library all its own. “There are kids excited about it and, I think, reading as a result,” Siekman said.

[email protected]

Bookmobile volunteer Sharon Dolleman reads to children at the Specialized Programs and Preschool Child Care Center on Madison Avenue in Oxford. Thursday was the fifth week the bookmobile has visited the Child Care Center this summer.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.