NORWAY — The popular Oxford Hills Bookmobile is rolling again this summer after last-minute donations from individuals and organizations provided money to keep the Norway Memorial Library program on the move.

“People responded immediately by telephone, in writing, and by coming directly to the library with a check in hand” after the request for assistance in May, Norway Memorial Library Director Beth Kane said.

Kane said some of the donors reminisced about a bookmobile visiting their town or school when they were young and how it instilled in them a love of reading and appreciation of books that has lasted a lifetime.

“The response to the announcement of this financial need illustrates just how deeply that value is held,” Kane said.

Community Literacy Grants from Maine Reads was the project’s main source of funding since 2005, but those funds are no longer available. Program sponsors had to decide whether they could keep providing the service this summer, which is 95 percent volunteer.

The program, a collaboration between Oxford Hills/Buckfield Adult Education and Norway Memorial Library, served 775 children at nine locations for six weeks last year.

Each week, volunteers drive the bookmobile, a converted school bus, to beaches and preschool programs and other locations in Oxford Hills towns to distribute books and read to children.

Donations to the bookmobile were made from as far away as Vermont. Kane said some of the donors were Healthy for Life Wellness Center, C & C Farm, United Way of Oxford County, Oxford Hills Rotary, Oxford Federal Credit Union, Gene and Ellen Benner, Steve and Ellen Veazey, Janet Fitzpatrick, Martha Holden and Alice J. Souther. A number of donors wanted to remain anonymous, she said.

“This response was energizing to me and to the bookmobile coordinators and volunteers,” Kane said. “How wonderful to have this local outreach program so well-supported by people who know the positive impact a program like this can have.”

The bookmobile makes stops at SACC programs in Oxford, Norway and Hebron. It also goes to the CDS Opportunities Preschool, OT to Grow, and Alpine Park apartments. This year, the program is coordinating with the Oxford Hills Summer Picnic Series with stops in Norway and Oxford.

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