Bookmobile Project Running on Fumes

The Community Literacy Project brings reading to low-income families in Oxnard by allowing young children and their parents to check out books from a vehicle devoted to the purpose.

But now the bookmobile project, sponsored by the Oxnard Elementary School District, has hit a bump in the road after losing its funding. Donations are needed to revive the popular program, said its coordinator, Cherie Moraga.

"The funding for the project ended June 30," said Moraga, a former kindergarten teacher. "The bookmobile will only be able to continue to visit Oxnard's children through donations, sponsors and other grant opportunities. We are looking for sponsors who could help us so we can continue to provide this valuable service."

The district received a two-year grant of $250,000 to fund the project, but only $10,000 remains to cover costs through October. Moraga said she has sent more than 100 letters requesting support. Recent donors include the School of Pacific Islands, $5,000 in matching funds; Amgen, $3,000; Ventura County Peace Officers Assn., $300; and Friends of the Oxnard Public Library, $250.

Since 1997, the project has been promoting early literacy activities. The bookmobile, which serves more than 1,000 families, takes more than 2,500 children's books into neighborhoods where many youngsters have never before enrolled in a lending library.

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