Monday, July 27, 2009

Bookmobile and Outreach Services

The July 23rd Advisory meeting to the Carson City Library Board of Trustees featured Library Trustee Maxine Nietz discussing a Bookmobile for the Carson City Library and library employee Sandy De Vaney discussing library services to the homebound

Trustee Nietz covered all aspects of a Bookmobile including:

  • What is a Bookmobile?
  • Outreach
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Constituencies
  • Other Counties
  • Varieties
  • Marketing
  • Comments
  • Resources
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Fleet Services

Library Wagon: Washington County,
Maryland in 1905
“No better method has ever been devised for reaching
the dweller in the country. The book goes to the man,
not waiting for the man to come to the book.”

1918 the Hibbing (MN) Public Library initiated the first walk-in type bookmobile service in the nation, with its own wood and coal stove for warmth on cold winter

What is a Bookmobile?

  • Created for those patrons who could not get to the library
  • A bus or truck that houses books from a library for patrons to check out
  • Coordinates with your in-library system so that the patron has access to the entire collection
  • The bookmobile schedules “stops” in neighborhoods or institutions where all neighbors, students or teachers can enjoy the bookmobile
  • Open to everyone in the library system


  • To reach patrons who do not normally get exposed to the library
  • Primary place to get information in rural areas where getting to a library is difficult
  • Good for low-income areas where computers are not in every home
  • Can have a substantial impact on illiteracy, education and poverty and to help span the Digital Divide

    Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship
Why do you come to the bookmobile? 90% Convenience
  • Why do you borrow books & materials? Customer Satisfaction 90% Pleasure/Relaxation
  • How often do your use the bookmobile? 57% Every time it stops here
  • How far do you live from the town library? 56% within 10 miles

  • Customer Satisfaction

    • How does access to the bookmobile affect your life? 67% Has made my life better
    • If the bookmobile services were converted to $$, how much did you receive today? 65% $20 or more
    • What would be the consequence to you if this bookmobile were not available? 62% Bad or Desperate
    • 1997 survey avg responder: female and 50 yrs old


    • HeadStart, Pre-Ks, Kindergartens and Daycares
    • Institutions for the elderly and people with special needs
    • Boys & Girls Club for homework help
    • Native American populations
    • Teens and Tweens after school and weekends

    From our Neighbor, Utah
    Did you know:

    • Utah Bookmobiles travel 150,000 miles each year
    • Serve 303 bookmobile stops in 15 Utah Counties
    • Serve 89 schools (public, charter and Head Start)
    • Serve over 200,000 Utah readers
    • Many Bookmobiles in the State Bookmobile fleet offer Internet service

    Other Counties

    Lyon County – Moundhouse
  • Douglas County – Indian Hills
    Inter-local agreements can be made with these jurisdictions to serve their populations with our bookmobile
  • Varieties

    • Family Bookmobile: Appropriate materials and places for parent/child interaction
    • Explorer Bookmobile: brings the total "library experience" to kids with space for browsing, computers, story-time, etc.
    • Internet Bookmobile: books in the public domain available via the Internet. Equipped with a laser printer, a desktop binding machine to turn files into books that do not have to be returned
    • Digital Bookmobile: equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, these interactive computer stations give visitors an opportunity to search the digital media collection, use supported mobile devices, and sample eBooks, audio books, music, and video
    • “Green” Bookmobile: runs on biodiesel with solar power for the interior


    • Local banks and/or utility companies can include the bookmobile schedule in every statement
    • Piggyback homebound delivery service with Meals-on-Wheels
    • Include info on the library website and in all brochures and publications
    • Use public TV, radio, and other media to keep the schedule in the public eye

    “Make them into mobile computer labs, or rolling teen clubs or whatever.”
    “It’s nice to see kids come and hang out. It becomes a teen center to some degree.”
    “Now we need it more than we did before.”
    “We go wherever readers are, delivering great service and bringing the library to families in neighborhoods and grateful patrons who receive their deliveries at home.”


    About your Bookmobile: (some fun thoughts on them...)

    • To make the satellite dish work, you must plug in the correct cord.
    • Thrift stores are key. We bought a card table for a buck and it made all the difference.
    • Martha Stewart was right. A table cloth with a tasteful print adds pizazz to a bookmobile display.
    • Always take the keys out of the ignition before locking the door.
    • If you're gonna lock the keys in the bookmobile, make sure you're at a library.

      Fleet Services
    • “Owns” all vehicles in Carson City
    • Bookmobile would be about 6 VEU’s ($5,400) in routine maintenance
    • City gasoline is now $0.54 less than at the pump
    • Fleet Services can obtain a used vehicle, such as JAC or school bus, etc. and can do
      the conversion

    Following the presentation of a possible bookmobile for the new Carson City Library, Sandy De Vaney presented information on the library's homebound services:

    Our homebound program delivers books to those who are not able to get to the library. Working from a request list, books are chosen to fill the patrons' reading preferences. All varieties of genres are on the list - from adventure to zoology - and are selected by Sandy, the homebound coordinator.

    The patron chooses any favorite authors she wants to read, and the number of books she wants per month. We call new patrons to let them know of the delivery day - then drop off the selections. Next month, we deliver the next batch and retrieve the returning books. Folks can submit their requests by phone, notes left in returning books or e-mail. I am always glad to hear from the patrons - what is their favorite book this trip - what they are looking forward to next month.

    It is important for the Library to continue to reach out to users, some who simply cannot get in our doors...perhaps you might offer a suggestion to us about outreach. We also would love to hear your thoughts on a Carson City Bookmobile.