The Times West Virginian

December 13, 2013

New bookmobile available for ‘substantial customer base’

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Residents in Marion County may have noticed a new vehicle on the roads driving from town to town.

If they have, it could most likely be Marion County Public Library System’s new bookmobile.

Erika Reed, director of MCPLS, said they had been saving money over the years to replace their first bookmobile, which had been giving them problems.

“When we received the old one, it was a very lovely, worn bookmobile,” she said. “We saved our pennies for five years and at the end of that five years we decided that we had a substantial customer base to purchase a new one.”

Reed said their first bookmobile was a 1995 vehicle. When MCPLS first got it, it was to see whether or not something like a bookmobile would work in Marion County.

“The old one, we purchased from another library as a pilot project,” Reed said. “We wanted to make sure that this project worked for Marion County before we invested money into it.”

The core mission of the bookmobile is to reach people throughout the county who are unable to travel to a MCPLS library. Because a library may not exist in a town in the county, Reed said this is a way for residents to access MCPLS’s electronic items as well as its print and physical items such as books, movies and audio books.

“Some people might not be able to make it to a library,” she said. “But they can get to the community building in the town or the town hall, and they don’t have to travel far to have free library services.”

Having the new bookmobile allows MCPLS to reach those who can’t make it to the library. Reed said one of the main reasons MCPLS went with the new bookmobile was because it was handicap accessible.

“We wanted something that was completely accessible,” she said. “Our first vehicle was not handicap accessible, and the new one actually is.”

The MCPLS bookmobile has a set schedule and runs Monday through Thursday, stopping at several locations throughout Marion County.

Don Thompson, one of the bookmobile librarians, said the more popular locations for the bookmobile are assisted-living centers and day cares.

“When we go to the day cares, the kids just love us,” he said.

Thompson said the bookmobile brings resources to those in assisted living centers who are unable to travel to a library.

“It’s not easy for them to get out,” he said. “They really enjoy seeing us come.”

Thompson said he enjoys working in the new bookmobile because of the updated equipment.

“The old one had a lot of wear and tear on it,” he said. “It started giving us a lot of problems, not only with the engine, but the generator was getting bad. We’re very fortunate to have the new one.”

Thompson said there are only three bookmobiles in West Virginia.

“We are lucky to have one in Marion County,” he said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.