Tuesday evening bookwagon

We believe that we always need to be ready to reflect critically on our own practices, policies and assumptions. We need to treat every program like a pilot. This presupposes a high level of commitment, a healthy work environment and strong relationships. It also presupposes a freedom to reject poor policies that, unfortunately, few practitioners are granted.
Brown & Dryden, Beyond the checklist

We didn't even get out of the driveway last evening before they came running up. Rotten kids.

Last night was our 3rd Tuesday evening bookwagon. One more and we should have the kinks worked out (we're still needing to modify the route a bit and I want to create a different mix of adult reading materials). It went okay last night. We're out of Hallowe'en books and low on board books again, but that's nothing new. We lent a couple of books apiece to kids waiting for the bus to take them to the Boys & Girls Club. Yay! I'm not sure those books will make the bus ride back, but that's okay too. We connected with another adult - I'll be bringing the Quickreads-Rapidreads-Goodreads next week. We missed a couple of regulars, but have a plan for redrawing the route to fix that....

So, yeah. It was okay.

We moved Bookwagon from Saturday morning to Tuesday night for a couple of reasons. One had to do with the diminishing number of families we were serving on Saturday morning. At one time, we served 85 families, but now we're down to about 15 in mid-winter. Add to that the time commitment we were making - volunteering 4 hours on a Saturday morning when we could have been doing something with our own families - and we started asking, is there a way we can do this that's not as costly in terms of our personal time. That was useful, because it led us to ask why we thought bookwagon ought to run on Saturday mornings.

Another factor in our decision was the once-monthly Tuesday night Tenants' Association meetings. We wanted to attend those more regularly. Doing so would be easier if we were in the neighbourhood as a matter of course. We were also trying to work out a way of providing adult learning support through the winter, and a Tuesday night presence offered a way to do that.

So, we made the switch.

Right away, we noticed that doing the suppertime run put us in contact with more parents. We met several new families out walking the dog or taking an after-supper stroll. On the other hand, some kids were leaving the neighbourhood just as we wheeled in - which is why we're altering our route. As the evenings get darker earlier, we don't expect to meet as many folks. But, then, we didn't meet so many on frozen Saturday mornings in January either.

As for the Tuesday evening adult learning support... That's still something we're working on. I'm also working on how to attach lights to the wagon.

All of which makes Bookwagon almost like a pilot program again. Pilot programs rock, because in a pilot you have permission to change everything and anything to do a better job of reaching your goal.

Saturday mornings were great, but after eight years we were in a bit of a rut. So, here's to Tuesday nights.


G Groulx said...

This is fantastic work! You are an inspiration! Do you have any advice for starting a story tent and story wagon program in Prince Rupert, BC? I think it would be really cool!

Wendell said...

Advice? Not so much. But we have a record of how we've done things here:


And here:


The trick of it is to find a high-density neighbourhood where you can be super-accessible to families.