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October 30, 2002

Students lend designer touch to Literacy Bus

Department of design chair Andrew Anker loves talking about the Woodland library's Literacy Bus you might see rolling around a few Northern California communities. That's because CSUS students fully produced the design for the elegant interior.

"Other than a few changes to measurements, the bus was built as designed," Anker says. There are several shiny silver drawers the library uses for paperwork and also for the children's projects. The unique floor is made from easy-to-clean rubber. And, Anker says, a local textile company donated the high-quality leather for the benches that line the walls.

The Woodland literacy employees add they're very impressed with the bus' interior design. They cite how the smooth walls allow them to hang children's artwork or any other project.

Several design students created teams to work on the project. The library chose its favorite plan, selecting the work of Angelika Hopkins and Delilah Navarro, two students who have since graduated with degrees in interior design.

Jennifer Bogan, head of Woodland's Families for Literacy program, says people thoroughly enjoy the resulting vehicle. "Lots of people use the bus," she says, "including preschool and early education workers." The library's new literacy coordinator Lynn Howard adds that employees also drive the bus to after-school programs at several Yolo County schools, especially in migrant worker neighborhoods.

Anker says his students knew the library needed more than just a bookmobile. "It's a rolling preschool," he says, and the interior was planned accordingly.

Howard agrees the bus is perfect for the children and their parents. Both groups frequently use the vehicle at the same time. The children sit at one end of the bus while the adults are working with tutors at the other. Both groups are extremely at ease in the rolling classroom. Howard says the adults would rather step into the comfortable bus than go to a library or unfamiliar building. They don't have to leave their home environment or work alongside people they don't know. "The families are much cozier and happier. There's a lot of laughter on the bus," she says.

Anker is glad so many people use the vehicle and appreciate the University students' creativity. "It's some of the best work I've seen," he says of the interior design. Anker says he would not hesitate to again oversee or endorse a CSUS joint venture like this one. "The project was very satisfying, a great cause. And it got the students out into the community."

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