South Shore Public Libraries has replaced their aging mobile library with a state of the art, purpose-built bookmobile.
Driver and Library Clerk Dave Smith says the new vehicle comes with a new name as a nod to the way the service is already perceived in the community.
“You know, I’ve been with the library for many years, I always associate it, it’s the bookmobile and when you go into communities people always say, oh the bookmobile is there, which is great. Nice to have it back,” said Smith.
The library’s new bookmobile has the wide variety of books and videos patrons have come to expect as well as several new advantages over the previous version.
The old mobile library was, essentially, a repurposed school bus. The aisle was narrow, climate controls were basically non-existent and it was difficult for anyone with mobility issues to gain access.
The new bookmobile features a wide aisle and brightly lit shelves. It is fully air-conditioned and heated and has an accessible lift at the end to allow people with mobility issues to come on and freely access any part of the vehicle.
Crystal Madill has worked with South Shore Public Libraries for almost 40 years, the past 12 years in the mobile library.
She says the new bus creates a social environment where people can come in, sit on one of the two opposing benches and browse the collection while interacting with their neighbours.
“You can sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. This is also very much a community spot,” said Madill. “So they sit on the benches and have a little chat and a visit with each other and gossip.”
That community hub mentality extends outside the bookmobile as well.
A large antenna allows people to connect wirelessly to high speed internet, something that is sorely lacking in many of the communities the bookmobile visits.
The new bookmobile further integrates itself into the community by providing an awning for shade, and a white board and speakers that allow the vehicle to show movies.
External outlets powered either by an inverter or generator provide people a place to plug in their laptops or even charge their electronics in the event of an emergency.
Smith and Madill say patrons have been giving the new bookmobile rave reviews since it launched in late July.
A schedule for stops in Queens county can be found by visiting South Shore Public Libraries website.
To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.