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For five years, the van, stocked with a selection of 4,000 books and staffed by volunteers, has headed out twice weekly to five homelessness day centres in London, lending books and taking reader requests. Readers need only a name to sign up to use it.
Here's a Virginia librarian who understands the difficulties in reaching an immigrant population and has found a way to build trust and make library services available to a fast-growing Hispanic population.
The idea came from a county group called Hispanic Outreach Leadership Action (HOLA). One of its officers is Lydia Gonzalez, 67, president of the local library board. Gonzalez said she came up with the notion because she knows what it feels like to be an outsider in a new community and how one connection to a local institution, such as the library, can make a difference.
More here from theWashington Post.
Amanda French writes "The North Carolina News and Observer profiles Myrtle Peele, 90, who worked for forty years with a rural North Carolina bookmobile, driving muddy back roads to bring books to isolated tobacco-farming communities. Characters that appear here in her all-too-brief reminiscences include wives who neglected their housekeeping to read, the now-extinct breed of door-to-door book salesmen, sharecroppers who owned only a Bible and a dictionary, and a Hemingway-loving handicapped man who trained a goose to fetch his bookmobile books for him!"
The Curmudgeony Librarian writes "The news for bookmobiles runs hot and cold this week as a new service launches and another may be saved from cuts, while still others face the budget chopping block. There is good news in Rochester Hills Michgain, and Seattle Washington, bad news in Utica, New York and Winchester, Virginia.
In Rochester Hills, Michgain, bookmobile service for the Rochester Hills Public Library is set to begin in the next few weeks as soon as a driver is found. The decision to create the service was made after years of debate wither to open a library branch or create a mobile service. The bookmobile will will carry over 3,000 items and serve Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township in Michgain.
In Seattle, Washington, the City Council's budget committee restored funding for many of the health and human services cuts in the proposed 2005 budget. These restored service include partial restoration of Seattle Public Library's bookmobile rounds.
In Utica, New York, the Mid-York Library System Bookmobile will stop running after more than 40 years of service. The bookmobile was cancelled due to dropping ciculation numbers which fell from 60,000 in the 1970s to 21,000 today. Rising costs for the service were also cited as a factor. Many bookmobile patrons expressed dismay at the closing. The library will offer 24 hour patron access to it's catalog via the internet.
In Winchester Virginia, the Handley Regional Library has halted bookmobile service to plug a massive budget gap caused by state funding shortfalls. Citing low circulation, an inability to locate qualified drivers, and the aformentioned budget gap the library's Board of Directors unanimously recommend dropping the bookmobile from its budget. The library is considering additional ways to save money including other alternatives to the bookmobile and outright sale of the vehicle. Even with these measures, the library is still facing a severe budget gap of over $100,000. "Unless we can get the state to go to full funding, I donâ€™t think this will get better," said Library Director Trish Ridgeway."
The Curmudgeony Librarian writes "The people of Elmore County Alabama have reason to celebrate with the return of bookmobile service to the county. After more than six years, the patrons of the Horseshoe Bend Regional Library again have bookmobile service. The reintroduced service was funded by a $500 check given by county officials. The service is expected to reach rural communities throughout Elmore County."
LISNews reporter Rochelle informed us back in September about funds being cut for the Seattle PL, including the bookmobile . City residents complained bitterly about this, and a Seattle journalist, Robert L. Jamieson Jr. mentioned it in his column.
Now it looks as if the Mayor is proposing a restoration of funds for the bookmobile...see paragraph nine (Council action...) in this article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Although the City Council hasn't yet voted funding back to the bookmobile program, it is on the agenda for later this week.
Residents of county Mayo are missing their bookmobile. It's in the shop, becoming wheelchair accessible, but in the meantime, those who cannot get to the library have no way to peruse the books. They're particularly concerned that since more 'static' libraries have opened, the bookmobile may be on its way out.
Lots of lovely Irish names in this little story from Western People , you can almost imagine them tripping off the tongue of Frank McCourt.
Here's a column by Robert L. Jamieson Jr. following up on a story reported here at LISNews on September 26 about cuts to the Seattle Public Library budget.
Jamieson urges Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to "drop by the Life Care Center on Southwest Admiral Way, where sick and elderly residents relish simple pleasures.
The mayor could then look nursing home resident Loretta Stone in the eye and tell her about his plan to kill the bookmobile.
That news stunned Stone so much that she raised her hand in desperation during a church service Sunday. "Say a prayer for the bookmobile," she cried. "It's my whole life."
The 56-year-old woman has cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair. She vows to fight for the bookmobile, which gives her and so many others a link to the outside world. "I know the bookmobile costs money," Stone told me. "But just look at the happiness it gives people ... this will break my heart."
A wonderful program instituted by Anywhere Books (a US-based nonprofit dedicated to deploying mobile print on demand solutions for developing countries) and supported by the World Bank has outfitted a special bookmobile to travel around the countryside of Uganda, where the children can board, choose a title (out of a databank of 20,000), and get to print and bind their very own copy of a book to keep. Ordinarily, there is one textbook for every six kids in Uganda, and most of the lessons consists of drill and repeat.
The bookmobile traveled three days per week from Kampala to the Buikwe region in southern Uganda and regularly visited several of the 25 schools in the area. Librarians worked with the kids to print their own books. Popular titles included Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit and stories from the Bible.
Rochelle recently reported on a similar program in India.
Uganda story from Wired News