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Gift of Connection


During an unprecedented time, Jurupa Unified continues to pursue innovative ideas to ensure a successful school year for all students.

One of JUSD’s latest projects is the development of mobile libraries. In October, four buses were outfitted to provide library services to students during distance learning. To ensure widespread access, the buses will travel to multiple locations throughout the district. Shelves will be stocked with a range of popular titles, but students will also be able to place holds through the library management website so their preferred books are ready and waiting.

Paula Ford, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, said the idea for the project came from past mobile computer labs that brought computer access directly to students and their families. Though all students in JUSD now have a Chromebook for distance learning, they are not guaranteed a variety of reading materials at home. Mrs. Ford’s mobile library project will change that.

“I think it’s going to make a tremendous difference in the students’ ability to stay connected with the school as well as reading in general,” she said.

Mario Vega, a carpenter in Maintenance and Operations, spearheaded the physical transformation. He added another set of stairs to each bus so students may enter at one end and leave through another, resulting in a smoother and safer check out process. He and Julio Schwendener Aragon, a mechanic in Transportation, conducted tests to figure out the best positioning for easy operation.

Mobile libraryMario Vega, Carpentermobile library bookshelves filled with books

Bookshelves came next. “Patriot High School is getting a new makerspace and that meant we had to remove some bookshelves,” said Veronica Gonzalez, Coordinator of Education Technology. “Those bookshelves are being reused in the mobile library buses.” By reusing materials, the district saved money and gave Mario the opportunity to get creative.

He used a combination of brackets to secure the racking. After researching other mobile libraries, he asked his partner, Frank Valadez, to tilt the shelves upward 2 inches to keep books from sliding off during transportation. From there, removing the seats was the final step. Then library staff worked their own magic, putting books on the shelves and finding unique ways to decorate.

A trial run was conducted on Thursday, November 5th. Bus Driver Robyn Ellison, tasked with bringing one of the mobile libraries to the Swan Lake Community, shared that not one book moved during the drive. 

“It feels wonderful,” said Robyn of her participation. “I’m glad I was chosen and it’s really exciting for me to see this for the kids. It’s all about the kids.”

Veronica puts up mobile library signbus drivers pose in front of mobile libraryyoung boy poses in front of mobile library 

Home to over 500 JUSD students, Swan Lake Community was the perfect place to test out the mobile library service. After Veronica Gonzalez and her library committee set up shop next to the lunch distribution, students lined up beside socially distanced traffic cones and eagerly awaited their chance to step inside. To ensure safety, a library staff member stationed at the entrance allowed one student on the bus at a time. Another staff member was present onboard to help locate materials, while a third waited beyond the exit to check out selected books.

The trial run was a success, and Veronica credits her library committee – composed of Anupama Jindal, Jaime Payne, and Terri Spencer – for investing so much love into the project. Witnessing the students’ excitement was heartwarming and encouraging.

Still, there is work to be done before all four mobile libraries are operational throughout the district.

“We are already brainstorming ideas of what else we could do,” shared Veronica. “Our wheels are turning.”