In the first of our “Get to Know Your Library” series I’m going to be talking about the Bookmobile.

Henrico Bookmobile

The Bookmobile is the County’s most unique library. It has wheels! None of our other libraries can make this claim. It is a great library. Every Monday through Thursday it travels around the county visiting daycares, senior/retirement communities and some apartment complexes.  They drive about 10,000 miles per year so they really know their way around. The staff of the Bookmobile consists of three full time and one part time employees. The full timers must have a Commercial Drivers License in order to drive this library around. That’s not a typical requirement for working in a library.

What is a typical day?

Before they leave for the day they load the Bookmobile with books that will appeal to the people they are visiting that day. That means they load more children’s books and coloring sheets if they are going to be visiting mostly daycares and more large type books if they are visiting mostly senior/retirement communities. They also make sure they have the things people have requested. Just like the rest of our libraries, people are able to put items on hold to be picked up on the Bookmobile.

After they have stocked the library and are happy with their collection for the day it’s time to hit the road. Daycares are their first visits on most days. Did you know they do some story times on the Bookmobile? It’s true! There is space built right in that they use for story times. When they visit daycares they also bring a BIG BAG of BOOKS with them. The Bookmobile staff select around 50 books for each of the daycares they visit. They drop off one big bag and pick up one they left during their previous visit. This way the daycare has a fresh batch of books.

When they visit the senior/retirement communities and apartment complexes they usually park the Bookmobile and let the people come in and browse the collection. They help people find new books to read, deliver hold requests, and answer questions during their 30 minute stay. Then its on to the next place.

The Bookmobile allows the library to extend its service to many people who have difficulty visiting our less mobile locations. For many people the Bookmobile is the only library they know. When I asked the manager what the most rewarding part of working on the Bookmobile was she responded, “knowing that I have made a difference in people’s lives by offering library services they would not have if we did not come into their lives.”

Have you been on the Bookmobile? Have any good stories you would like to share?

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