The Library System is pleased to announce the official start of a capital campaign to raise funds for a new Bookmobile. The County Commissioners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Library System and the County, allowing the System to move ahead with the acquisition.
Now celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Bookmobile provides library services to persons who have trouble accessing libraries. The current Bookmobile has been serving residents of Lancaster County for the past seventeen years. The new, more-efficient model will be smaller with better fuel efficiency, as well as being more reliable with less downtime and maintenance costs. Ed Miller, Bookmobile and Special Services Manager for the Library System, looks forward to expanded capabilities of the new Bookmobile. “The new design will address key barriers to access that our current customers have. Wherever possible, we will be taking our collection, which will be on book carts, inside of the facilities that we visit.” Currently, patrons must come aboard the Bookmobile, either climbing steps or riding a wheelchair lift, making for precarious situations for seniors and cramped story times for younger patrons.
“We’ve nicknamed the future vehicle ‘The Possibility Machine,’” says Meredith Hendrix-Jackson, Outreach Librarian and fellow Bookmobile driver. “Because that’s exactly what it will be. The obvious possibilities that it will open for us are better access and more flexibility on how we get materials out to the community. Being able to have story time in Head Start classrooms instead of in the confines of our current space. Bringing specifically curated carts of books and movies to retirement home lobbies where more people can peruse more items. It is anyone’s guess what services we could bring to the community once we’ve knocked back these barriers.”
The new vehicle can also be deployed as a traditional bookmobile in rural communities where the Bookmobile serves the Amish or in urban neighborhoods traditionally underserved by libraries. “We’ll still be going to the same kinds of places, but the new Bookmobile will allow us to adapt how we deliver service based on the needs of each location instead them adapting to us,” says Miller.
The total funding goal is $164,997 which includes additional costs of special book carts and vehicle graphics. Initial fundraising efforts have resulted in $35,028, which reflect the support of foundations, local businesses, Extra Give donations, the System Board, and individual contributions from the community at large. Ed Miller truly appreciates the support for the Bookmobile that is evident thus far. “We hear every day how much people value our services, so we are confident that we will continue to enjoy strong support. That being said, many of the people we serve are children under the age of 5 or are on fixed incomes, so we are also hoping for the broader community to help us to continue to provide this service.”
For more information about the Bookmobile’s past, present and future visit:
Our highest priorities are to serve low and moderate-income neighborhoods and organizations that serve this population. The Bookmobile stops at over 58 locations in Lancaster County, which include 22 stops at Head Start Centers, preschools, and daycare centers and Amish Schools; 37 monthly stops for Seniors at assisted living facilities, personal care homes, retirement communities and low-income senior apartment buildings. Bookmobile staff offer storytimes and early literacy programs at the Head Start, preschool and daycare centers during their visits. At the Bookmobile, you can find high quality fiction and nonfiction for all ages, large print materials, audio books and DVDs.
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