The San Antonio Public Library announced and unveiled a brand new Library Learning Van today at Wheatley Middle School. Named, V.R.O.O.M.- the Valero Roaming Online Outreach Mobile, the van will roam throughout the Eastside Promise Neighborhood, providing online outreach to children and teens, in order to bridge the digital divide that exists in our community. VROOM! is just one more example of how the Library provides access to online resources that empower the lives of our citizens.
The van was made possible thanks to a $100,000 grant received by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation from the Valero Energy Foundation. The grant was awarded to launch a program that will promote education, wellness and literacy for children and teens throughout San Antonio’s Eastside. In addition, the community will be provided with information about library card sign-up and other Library services.
The goal of this initiative is to improve the lives and opportunities for children and teens from San Antonio’s historic Eastside and their families by providing early literacy programs and workshops, and other out-of-school learning opportunities. “Innovative early literacy initiatives, like this one offered by the San Antonio Public Library, are critical to improving educational and developmental outcomes for children and teens on San Antonio’s historic East Side,” explains Mayor Julian Castro.
VROOM!, a customized sprinter van, will transport library programming and materials to the Eastside Promise neighborhood. In addition to the donation from Valero, the Library received a $25,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to fund the transport of library programming and materials to schools, community centers, daycares and other locations within the Eastside Promise neighborhood, and other areas of the San Antonio community in the future.
“Partnerships with organizations like Valero and the San Antonio Public Library give children living in the Eastside Promise Neighborhood the best opportunity to succeed in school and life,” says Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor. “The care, commitment, and efforts of these groups help to transform individual and collective pathways to the future.”
The van is equipped to deliver technology equipment and activities for children and teens in the community to enjoy, including free WiFi, iPads and iMacs.In addition, popular existing Library programs like Every Child Ready to Read and Play & Learn sessions for children and their parents/care providers will also be transported to the various locations.
“A goal of the San Antonio Public Library, and specifically this initiative, is to implement responsive solutions to the educational challenges and environmental barriers that effect academic achievement for children,” explains Ramiro S. Salazar, San Antonio Public Library Director. “It was essential that we include aspects of technology to ensure that all students have access to 21st Century learning tools.”