In October, Kent District Library’s (KDL) new Bookmobile was put into service. The 36 feet long, 11 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide library on wheels will be visiting Lowell on this Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1pm – 4:30pm. It will be parked in the Englehardt Library parking lot. Visitors are welcome to visit the inside, check out items, and then look for the Bookmobile in the nighttime Christmas Parade which begins at 6pm.
A Need to Reach Underserved Areas
The Bookmobile was able to be created thanks in part to a $208,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation. An additional grant of $40,000 from the Frey Foundation helped pay for materials offered in the Bookmobile and a $1,440 donation from J&H Family Stores was made for gas as it travels around Kent County.
A big influence on the creation of the Bookmobile is the state law which says beginning with the 2019/20 school year, third grade students must be reading at grade level before the end of the year. The law requires any student who does not meet this reading standard will be held back. “This is really an important point in learning and determining future success.” says KDL’s Alto Branch Manager (and Englehardt acting Branch Manager). “Strange as it sound, third grade reading scores are a factor that is considered when determining needed prison space 20 years in the future.” While libraries offer free resources, many still are not able to make it to a branch location. Bookmobile will help reach more residents in Kent County.
Library on Wheels
Materials offered through the Bookmobile will focus on increasing early literacy, although items will be available for all ages. Patrons will be able to check out books, DVDs, games, and take advantage of the vehicle’s wifi service. It will act just like a regular branch with the ability to issue library cards, take returns, and serve as a hold location.
The Bookmobile is currently on tour, visiting KDL branches on Saturdays. It is available Mondays through Thursdays as well as Saturdays. Materials available for check out can be customized depending on an event destination. When visiting a school, age appropriate books will be the focus. When visiting a senior center, more large print books will be available. Groups are able to request a visit online.
Public computers, tablets, and iPads are also available through Bookmobile. It is also equipped with an exterior video screen and modular shelves. The vehicle is also handicapped accessible. A team of three librarians oversee the Bookmobile and are eager to help serve communities and organizations in need.
The Lowell community will have the opportunity to visit the Bookmobile on Saturday from 1pm – 4:30pm and again during the Christmas Parade. Additional information about KDL’s 20th branch can be found on their website.
Photos courtesy of KDL and used with permission.