That’s because the public buses in Albuquerque all include a cubby full of children’s books. The books are part of the city’s Discover a Book program that was started more than a decade ago in an effort to help improve reading skills among Albuquerque’s youngest residents. The program is part of the city’s larger Read To Me book donation program, according to Nick Manole, marketing specialist for the city’s ABQ Ride department and president of the Read to Me program committee.
The Read to Me program holds a book drive every winter and distributes those books not only to the ABQ Ride department but to local nonprofits, schools with large numbers of low-income students and homeless shelters. Manole said this year they collected approximately 60,000 books. About 8,000 of those books will go to the bus reading program, according to volunteer Kathy Chilton.
She has been working with the program since its inception. She said the books make the ride more fun and less daunting for parents who may have a restless child.
“Discover a Book gives parents the opportunity to interact with their children in a positive way,” Chilton said in an email interview from England. “Several studies have shown that the greatest measure of future success in school is access to books.”