Tuscaloosa City Schools announced Thursday that its plans for a "literacy bus" to serve the city and school-aged children were approved by the Board of Education.

The city will convert one of its current buses used for school transportation into a mobile library, offering free Wi-Fi, a selection of reading material geared towards kids, a seating area and tablets for e-books or educational games.

Once in commission, the opportunity to use the "Literacy Bus" is open to all children and parents or guardians are encouraged to join them.

Director of student literacy for TCS Terri North-Byrts shared her enthusiasm for the project while pointing out the community's need for it.

"We are really excited about this bus, to provide resources for families in the community as well as every school in the Tuscaloosa City Schools," North-Byrts said.

"It's very important that all children are reading, and for them to [not] see reading or literacy as a task, but a skill and that they love to read, because we know that reading takes our children further."

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Due to a grant the city schools received, each TCS student who uses the bus will also have the opportunity to take a book home to help continue building positive habits.

"This is about community outreach," TCS Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria said.

"It's not just about our TCS students, but it's the Tuscaloosa community at large."

Aiming to finish before next summer, finishing touches on the bus are expected to be done by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

Scheduled stops will be posted to the TCS website, tuscaloosacityschools.com, upon completion. The bus will also be featured at community events around the city and available to charitable organizations like the United Way.

Source: Tuscaloosa City Schools

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