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The Albany (NY) Public Library's bookmobile, a lumbering 36-foot symbol of its efforts to reach deeper into underserved neighborhoods and whose staff helped enroll thousands of first-time library patrons, has been decommissioned.
But library officials stress the final chapter for the 1991 Thomas Built bus, acquired for $12,000 in 2005 from the Utica-area library system, signals a broader victory in its efforts to expand the library's influence throughout the city.
The opening over the last eight months of five new and renovated neighborhood branches -- including the first branch for Arbor Hill and West Hill in 40 years -- they argue, has cut the need for the finicky behemoth piloted and capably maintained for the last five years by librarian Will Takach.
Library Director Carol Nersinger said the bookmobile, whose predecessor was sidelined during budget cuts in the 1970s, was "a temporary measure" until that $29 million project concluded last month.
Will Takach, 32, an Albany native, wasn't just the bus' librarian but also its driver and chief mechanic -- a skill he said he learned in part from reading manuals at the library's main branch as a kid.
USA Today guest blogger Bobby Harrell is a library assistant in Bowling Green, KY, and he -loves- driving the bookmobile.
It's been a fast seven months since the Warren County Public Library in Bowling Green, Ky., put me in charge of a 40-foot-long, 30,000-pound Blue Bird bus modified to hold almost 6,000 library items, otherwise known as the Mobile Branch. I got the job after the previous bookmobile library assistant retired last year. I was ready to do something different in the library world. And it's been awesome ever since.
Did I mention I get to drive this thing? Backing up in the Mobile Branch requires help from a TV monitor piping images from a video camera attached to the back of the bus. And it took a while to get used to turning and slowing down in a bookmobile. But the view out the windows is worth it. My stops take me past near-endless fields of corn and down country roads that curve around the crops.
A Navajo Nation librarian was given top honors recently for his contributions to literacy on the 27,000-square-mile reservation.
Irving Nelson, who serves as library program supervisor of the Navajo Nation, was selected from a pool of more than 500 librarians worldwide for the title of Librarian of the Year for 2010.
Reader to Reader, a nonprofit organization based at Amherst College in Amherst, MA honored Nelson for his more than three decades of advocating for literacy on the reservation.
"Irving Nelson is an extraordinary individual," said David Mazor, executive director of Reader to Reader. "His dedication to his library and the citizens that use it is unsurpassed."
Nelson began his career driving a bookmobile on the reservation's rural roads. He also is credited with building an American Indian collection that includes 11,000 books, oral history tapes and land-claim records dating to 1675. Farmington NM Daily News reports.
Luis Soriano is a man with a mission -- to save rural children from illiteracy. He is a primary school teacher who spends his free time operating a “biblioburro,” a mobile library on donkeys that offers reading education for hundreds of children living in rural villages in Colombia. Twice a week he loads 120 books on his two donkeys, named Alfa and Beto, and rides for several hours into what he describes as “abandoned regions” of the country.
“In [rural] regions, a child must walk or ride a donkey for up to 40 minutes to reach the closest schools,” he said. “The children have very few opportunities to go to secondary school. . . . There are [few] teachers that would like to teach in the countryside.”
The site has a short video showing him with the burros. The little kids are adorable.
From Book Patrol: It started innocently enough. Over dinner a friend mentioned that he saw a used bookmobile for sale on Craigslist and wished he could by it. That was all the impetus Tom Corwin needed.
He was soon off to suburban Chicago to buy the decommissioned bookmobile. He paid $7500 for it.
Corwin has already garnered the support of the National Book Foundation, the Association of American Publishers and the American Library Association for the project and has signed a deal with Whitewater Films in Los Angeles for the documentary which will be titled "Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile." The film will also include information on the history of bookmobiles.
Authors that have already signed up in support include Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Junot Diaz, Tom Robbins and Scott Turow, with many of them to take a turn at the wheel...here they are.
The Beverly MA bookmobile is out of commission, but its librarian is not.
The deteriorating vehicle failed inspection two weeks ago, and Linda Caravaggio has been making the rounds in her silver Nissan Sentra, delivering books from her back seat.
"She's hauling bags around and doing her best," Library Director Pat Cirone said. "She's a tremendous librarian who goes above and beyond."
The bookmobile, a 20-year-old bus that delivers books, tapes and CDs to people who can't get out to the library, needs tires, brakes and rust repairs. "It wasn't just one minor thing," Cirone said. "There's a list."
Rough estimates for repairs are $3,000, which will come out of the city's library budget — not the $70,000 raised so far for a new vehicle, which is expected to cost about $150,000.
The Beverly Public Library has been raising money for a new bookmobile for the past two years. To send a monetary donation, please make checks payable to the Friends of the Beverly Public Library. They can be mailed to the Library at 32 Essex Street, Beverly, MA 01915 or check out the website for more information.
Another story on budget cuts, this time in Macon County NC; (scroll halfway down...)
Fontana Regional Library made a request from the town’s non-profit funding pool in the amount of $12,000 for the library system’s Reading Rover Bookmobile service. Since 1999, the Reading Rover Bookmobile has developed pre-literacy skills by bringing monthly story time programs and materials to toddlers and preschoolers at child care locations.
Librarian Karen Wallace said this is the first time funds have been requested from the town specifically for the Reading Rover. The program costs around $475 per day to run 200 days per year. Historically, the program has been funded through grants which have disappeared, she said.
Alderman Bob Scott said that reading is very important and the future of Franklin is the children. “I think it is an excellent program,” he said of the Reading Rover, adding that many countries in war have little educational opportunities for their young people. Scott asked if the Reading Rover could take the place of ice cream trucks and cruise the neighborhoods during the summer months, offering reading materials to the youth of Franklin.
Do you think the Reading Rover could replace the tempting melody of the ice cream truck? Interesting idea...not sure it's plausible.