Book Mobiles

Milwaukee Bookmobile Faces Axe As City Struggles With Budget

The Milwaukee Public Library is staring down reduced hours and elimination of its bookmobile service as the Wisconsin city struggles with budgetary concerns. Also facing the axe are firefighting staffing levels and graffiti abatement. The Central Library would close early one evening a week as part of the saving measures.

The bookmobile itself was funded in the past through with federal block grant money. But a $2 million cut in the money the city received this year means the service will, most likely, be eliminated. The Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett hopes that a company or other group would sponsor the Bookmobile.


Missouri Library Sponsors Bookmobile Graphics Design Contest

Missourians will see a colorful addition on the road come fall, as the Missouri River Regional Library has sponsored a contest to select the graphics for their new bookmobile. The contest is open to all who wish to participate. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 5, 2005. Additional details about the contest can be found at the MLRL website.

Located in Jefferson City, the Missouri River Regional Library provides service Cole and Osage Counties in Missouri.


Quaker Mobile Library Service to London Homeless

Adrian Smith sent over This Guardian Article on the Quaker Homeless Action (QHA) mobile library. Their aim is simple: that its borrowers be regarded as equal members of the reading public.

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.


Viva! Van: Friendly Outreach to Hispanic Patrons

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.


projet MOBILIVRE call for submissions

The projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project is gearing up for its 2005 tour and has put out a call for submissions.

Photos of the bookmobile and artworks submitted in years past are available here.


Profile of a 90-year-old North Carolina bookmobile librarian

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!"


Good News and Bad Face Nation's Bookmobiles

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 don’t think this will get better," said Library Director Trish Ridgeway."


Bookmobile Service Returns to Alabama County

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."


Reversal of Fortune On the Way for Seattle Bookmobile?

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.


Rural Ireland Missing Its "Mobile"

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.



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