Canal Winchester elementary and middle school students will be booking it to school this fall on buses that offer selections of books to read.
Cindi Lynch, volunteer organizer for the new "Books on Buses" program, said she hopes to have up to 2,000 books by the time the buses roll out this school year.
"I came up with the idea because my grandchildren love to go to Wagnalls (Memorial Library) and read books," she said. "Whenever we travel long distances, we take books for them to read alone or to each other."
In addition, Lynch said she realized after volunteering in a classroom last year that, for various reasons, some children did not have the opportunity to read at home.
"Once I started to talking about it, I saw a news report where Columbus City Schools had started this initiative ... so I went and met with them to figure out the process they used," she said.
Lynch said she hopes the Canal Winchester program will build community relationships, increase reading levels and decrease behavioral issues on the buses.
When children board the bus, a state-approved tote will be available containing books organized by reading level so they can quickly make a selection, she said.
Students will not have to worry about checking out the books when they get on the bus because the program is based entirely on the honor system to encourage reading. She said children are welcome to take the books home to read, then bring them back and exchange them for new ones.
"We hope to have the books returned," she said. "However, we do not want the bus drivers to have to monitor the books or add additional work for them."
In order to have enough books for the 36 buses, collection boxes have been set up in the Canal Winchester Education Center at 100 Washington St. New and gently used books may be dropped off during office hours.
Collection boxes are also available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St.; from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Wagnalls Memorial Library, 150 E. Columbus St., Lithopolis; and from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at CornerSmiths store, 1 S. High St. in Canal Winchester.
Lynch said books may be dropped off at the office of Lynch Retirement Advisors, 3 W. Waterloo St., or at her home at 27 E. Columbus St., Canal Winchester, when the red wagon is sitting on the porch.
So far, she said, she has collected 10 boxes of books just from the drop-off site at her home.
Lynch said she hopes "Books on Buses" will lead to subsequent programs.
"We hope to bring the community together to help the Canal Winchester students and eventually set up 'small libraries' around the Canal Winchester school system so children can walk and pick up books," Lynch said.
The "small libraries" would be similar to a Little Free Library -- usually a designated and decorated box in a neighborhood where anyone can drop off a book or borrow one free of charge.