Long before the delivery of, quite literally, EVERYTHING became all the rage, bookmobiles were delivering books.
You probably have fond memories of taking a mini-field trip from class, walking outside the school doors to explore the wonders of that library on wheels. Bookmobiles are still laying tracks across the country and are as busy as ever.
You've probably seen Greene County Public Library's bookmobile out on the roads, making trips to schools and daycare centers to deliver books to children and introduce them to the library. To prepare you for National Bookmobile Day on April 11, here are few things about Greene County's service that you might not have expected, but that will certainly bring book-loving joy to you and your kids.
1. The bookmobile has been on the road since 1948. Celebrating its 70th birthday this year, Greene County's first bookmobile started making the rounds shortly after World War II. Driving the bus on this inaugural service was librarian Elizabeth Hedenberg and her assistant, Martha Snyder.
2. The bookmobile carries around 5,000 books at any time and serves nearly 5,000 children each month. Neither of these numbers is an exaggeration. The sheer number of actual books that travel around Greene County seems staggering, but the service has never been just for show. To serve the many school-age children in the area, and to serve them well, the dedicated bookmobile staff is constantly updating, requesting and stocking an array of new reads and old classics.
3. Kids can receive and keep their library card with the bookmobile. A valuable lesson every child could benefit from is an introduction to the responsibility of using a library, says bookmobile clerk Cameron Chaney. To facilitate this, the bookmobile gives children the opportunity to apply for a library card on site that will be kept at the library on wheels. This makes it easier to keep track of the card, but the child still learns to be responsible for the books he or she checks out.
4. The bookmobile makes monthly stops at each location around the county, but it also comes when invited. As has been the case for its 70 years of service, the bookmobile makes regular monthly stops at each participating location – mainly schools and daycare centers. This allows the mobile library staff to build relationships with students, just as they would if they were patrons at a branch. Bookmobile manager Stacy Westfall says that they're frequently invited to school assemblies that happen on the day they visit. Her staff will sit with kids during the school function, then serve them in the mobile library afterward.
5. The bookmobile is a valuable resource for teachers. Beyond the benefits of responsibility and personal connection that each child receives, the bookmobile also provides a valuable service to teachers that allows them to save time and enrich the learning of their students. "Many teachers will tell us what they're teaching, and we can gather books for them to use in their lesson," says Chaney. While there are likely thousands of online resources that teachers can and do use, sometimes there is nothing quite like the imaginative wonder of immersing yourself into a book that rests in the palm of your hands.
If your school or daycare center would like to request a visit from the Greene County Public Library bookmobile, contact Stacy Westfall at email@example.com or via phone at (937) 736-7260.