Madison County Library System’s mobile library could be rolling through your community, providing those without access to one of its branches a chance to peruse the shelves, check out books and other library services.
The bookmobile, starting in May, will visit various locations throughout Madison County, including nursing homes, retirement communities, daycare centers and some rural areas to make stops for people who can’t make it to one of the branches in Canton, Madison, Ridgeland, Flora and Camden.
“It will allow us to service those areas that can’t reach us,” assistant director of the Madison County Library System (MCLS) Ray Myers said. “Some people can’t get out to a physical location. It’s going to be a mobile library with broadband.”
The bookmobile will give people access to the library’s database and services. So, there will be job and career opportunities, such as resume help.
Tech classes, video games and 3D printing are also possibilities for the bookmobile.
The library’s youth services department will coordinate visits to schools. The bookmobile will also be present at special events that the cities or businesses host.
Several shelves of books in a variety of genres will be available in the mobile library.
“It will have a collection of books in each of the different genres, and we will also have a set of 10 laptop computers where they can setup remotely and have Microsoft office classes or job and career resume writing class,” Myers said.
Once the bookmobile is in operation, it can host those classes remotely.
Library staff members are working up their calendar of stops.
Patrons will be able to request titles, and the library staff will pull the book for them just like they would at one of the branches and send it out for that patron on the bookmobile.
Story times, do it yourself crafts, special needs resources and games will also be available.
“We hope to be on the road with our schedule in May,” said MCLS director Tonja Johnson. “They will be able to look at the schedule online, and the branches will also have printed copies.”
Johnson said the bookmobile will do a combination of community stops and pop up libraries for special events.
“We will also do homebound service,” Johnson said. “We have had some residents express interest in that, so we will have one day a month to do some home delivery as well.”
As for the selection of books the bookmobile will offer, library staff members are looking into seeing what books are checked out most often and what books are popular for adults and children.
“As people begin requesting certain things, we will know what we need to get more of,” she said.
Johnson said the bookmobile idea came up when library staff began brainstorming ways they could improve access to the library.
“We were thinking, ‘How can we get our services to them?’ Because some people aren’t able to get to the library,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we’re reaching those people in our community.”
There are almost one thousand active bookmobiles in the country.
“We really just started talking to other libraries that had bookmobiles,” she said. “It was really the answer to how we could reach more people. That’s what we’re about is making sure our services are available to everyone.”