Alumnus finds a unique way to promote community literacy.
For as long as he can remember, alumnus Hollis Cobb '19 has loved reading and working on old cars. This year, he found a way to combine the two and serve the community at the same time.
Cobb, an English major at the University of Mary Washington, converted an old ambulance into a mobile library, built up a collection of donated books, and hit the road with the Bookmobile. Working with community partners, its purpose is to promote literacy and a lifelong love of reading. The group works with four counties in Virginia as well as the city of Fredricksburg to distribute free, donated books at a range of community and neighborhood events.
The response to the Bookmobile has been overwhelming. At the moment, Cobb and his group have received 10,000 donated books from groups and individuals and there's a major buzz building around the effort. "Organization after organization has reached out to us," said Cobb. "When I first started this, I didn't have a lot of expectations, and it's really blown me away how everyone has responded to this program. In the couple of years that I've been in Fredricksburg, I've really fallen in love with the community."
Cobb considers his time at StC as an important moment in developing not only his love of literature but for his motivation for teaching and promoting literacy. "I think the foundation for this has been in me for a really long time," he said. "When I was in high school at St. Christopher's, that's when a lot of this passion solidified. Every single English teacher I had, Mr. Horner, Mr. Green, Mr. Wood and Mr. Smith were some of the most formative people I've met in my 20 years."
Cobb hopes that the Bookmobile's work makes a lasting difference in children. "One of the things I appreciate most about this project is that the children get to keep the books," said Cobb. "Growing up, having those books that I could always go back to were always so much more influential than ones that I had to return."