ECS in process to unveil ‘Betsy Book Bus’ for summer

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Don’t expect a “summer slide” when it comes to reading in the City of Elizabethton.

Elizabethton City Schools announced Tuesday their plan to unveil the “Betsy Book Bus”, a mobile book library geared toward school-aged children, around June or July of this year.

According to Bekah Price, public relations coordinator with the school district, the school system is in the process of decommissioning a bus that will be used as a mobile library and be renovated to include a sizeable amount of books, volunteers and other items needed for future activities.

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With other mobile libraries around available in surrounding counties, including Washington and Greene, Elizabethton’s school district is joining Carter County Schools and Unicoi County as other districts within the state to implement a program to coincide with the state’s Read to be Ready goal of moving third grade reading proficiency in the state to 75 percent by 2025.

ECS has already reaped the benefits of the Ready to be Ready program through the state with the Summer Reading Camp grant program.

But with the “Betsy Book Bus”, the school system will be accepting sponsorships and donations from the area businesses and organizations to help cover the cost of outfitting the bus to handle its desired goal.

“Our goal is $15,000,” Price said. “We’re really counting on the community to make this a success and this is a great opportunity for a business to partner with education.”

Sponsorships will be recognized on social media and by the school system by a variety of ways. Donations or sponsorships over $5,000 will allow a business or organization to have their name on the bus during their different stops throughout the year.

The partners for the project include ECS, the Governor’s Book from Birth Foundation, Imagination Library and the First Tennessee Development District.

Price added the initiative is a key focus for the Governor’s Book from Birth Foundation, which promotes early childhood literacy in Tennessee’s birth to age five population.

The Imagination Library, along with the foundation, both give opportunities to school-aged children to receive free books to enjoy with their families.

And while those opportunities are available, individuals looking to get donate books to the “Betsy Book Bus” can also help.

Residents can drop off books to be used for the bus at Central Office, located at 804 S. Watauga Ave. For students of ECS schools, their parents can send books to be donated with their students.

Price added that schools are holding competition for the most books collected and that the “Betsy Book Bus” will hold a benefit to students during the summer to “build excitement about literacy throughout the school year.”

While the bus will make different stops throughout the school year and summer, Price added the program will also look at making sure families sign up for the opportunities already available with the Imagination Library.

For more information on the initiative, visit the Elizabethton City Schools Facebook page or contact Central Office.