Texas School District Converts Buses into Rolling Libraries

The Bexar County, Texas, Bibliotech library system may not have pioneered the idea of an all-digital library but it has become the poster child for the idea.

Bibliotech has opened multiple digital library branches, including one at a hospital and another at a courthouse, and now the program is really beginning to go places.

Texas School District Converts Buses into Rolling Libraries Digital Library

Texas Public Radio reports that Bibliotech has partnered with the local school district to equip school buses with Wifi and internet access:

Since Monday, Jackie Washington Miller's students have been listening to the audio book Nimona on their ride to Cameron Elementary school.

Washington Miller, a senior school bus driver with the district says the kids have been quiet, intensely listening to the book.

"And as soon as they see me they said, 'Miss Jackie, Miss Jackie. Are we going to listen to the book today?" says Washington Miller explaining the kids check to make sure they start the place they left off.

BiblioTech outfitted seven SAISD buses with wireless routers and internet infrastructure as part of their "Rolling Readers" program. The technology gives students access to the internet through the district's content filters, and access to the digital library's thousands of books. The seven will rotate every two months to routes for multiple schools.

Cameron Elementary is on the city's eastside near the AT&T Center, in a historically impoverished area. The district says the school has a rate of 94.78 percent of students deemed economically disadvantaged, above the district average of 92 percent.

BiblioTech's Laura Cole says Cameron students are exactly the ones they want to be helping as part of their mission to address the city's digital divide, and help students access an internet that is increasingly intertwined with all aspects of life.

"They may have a phone, they may have a tablet, but sometimes they don't actually have the connectivity to make that work for them," Cole says.

The school district produced this video about the program:

In an age where a lot of kids have mobile devices, this is not a bad idea.

But is it a good use of public library funds? Shouldn't the school district be funding it?

It is the school district's bus, after all, and its students.

image by John Picken

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

2 Comments

  1. Allen F24 August, 2017

    Ha! First I’d heard, not that I follow my local news all that close …

    Reply
  2. George Needham25 August, 2017

    It may be the school district’s buses and students, but they are also residents of Bexar County, whose parents and grandparents are paying taxes to support the public library. We need to think in terms of how all public bodies can work together to serve the populace, and not waste time or money worrying about who “owns” the person.

    Reply

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