The Madison Reading Project (MRP) has begun a campaign to acquire an additional reading bus where they hope to “connect [the Madison] community with free books and literacy resources that ignite a love for reading.” The second reading bus will serve as a free library on wheels: aiming to provide children in the Dane County area access to quality pieces of reading material through pop-up events and stops at MRP’s regular stops.
Founded by Rowan Childs in 2013, the organization aims to support young readers. Initially, MRP served just a few children in afterschool programs. Now, they have extended their impact by breaking organizational records.
“110,730 books were given to kids in 2022, an all time record for MRP. The Big Red Reading Bus helped us reach 75,000 kids in 2022,” the organization states on its website.
Despite having one mobile library that transports reading materials across the Madison area, MPR has set its sights on gaining access to a second book bus for the upcoming year.
Featuring an array of upgrades, the new book bus would further the reach of the MPR and extend the organization’s impact to more youth readers, according to an organizational site about the campaign.
“Using what we know about the first bus, we looked at a new design on a larger chassis that will expand capacity for holding triple the amount of books; a bigger bus also means we can travel farther out with fewer return trips to the MRP Center for restocking,” the organization’s website states.
MRP is currently collecting donations from sponsors to reach its goal of $500,000. Almost halfway to its goal, the organization is supported by American Girl, the Madison Community Foundation and more.
Childs described the importance of the book buses to families in the Dane County area.
“It offers an opportunity to engage kids with a unique experience to board the bus, select a book or two from hundreds of choices, take the book to keep forever to enjoy, read again and grow their own home library,” Childs explained in a Feb. 24 press release.” “The bus has truly been a literacy game-changer for our organization."
To maximize the communities, schools and individuals served, MPR plans to split up the literacy advocacy opportunities between both the original bus and the new one.
“We will continue to run our first bus, assigning it to serve more centrally-located sites, smaller group events and deliveries. The second bus will be at many programming sites, bus events and public locations, helping ignite a love for reading and growing book ownership,” the organization’s website states.