Did you know that Cleveland Bradley County Public Library has owned and operated its own bookmobile for a decade?
What is a bookmobile?
It is a “truck, van, or trailer serving as a mobile library,” according to the New Oxford American Dictionary. The term “bookmobile” can be traced back in the country to the 1930s.
At that time, the city and county’s bookmobile focused on outreach outside the library’s walls, important because it gets books into the hands of young people. Today, the “moving library” serves children in local daycare and preschool facilities.
In the beginning, Tennessee’s regional libraries provided library services through bookmobiles to daycares, preschools and neighborhood stops throughout the state.
Then, around 2003, the Tennessee state library ended this program and made the bookmobiles available for purchase through its “surplus program.”
Out of this program, the local library bought its first used bookmobile for $3,000.
Needing attention and repairs, the bookmobile was then launched onto the road in the spring of 2004.
The new program was titled “Cleveland Public Library on the Go.” After time, due to “wear and tear,” the library eventually purchased a “gently used” vehicle. This special van was purchased in the fall of 2010 from the public library in Beckley, W.Va.
Following some minor repairs and a fresh paint job, this is the “mobile library” used today. This unit holds approximately 4,500 items, and in a three-week period the mobile unit makes 21 stops.
Although the bookmobile heads to certain facilities, an individual who sees the vehicle may stop to board the van, obtaining a library card at the time if the person does not have one already. This resident may then check out books.
How does the individual obtain a library card? The procedure with the bookmobile is the same as at the main library: simply provide a picture identification (such as a driver’s license) and proof of address (such as a bill from a utility company). “Institutional group” library cards are used by the day care and preschool children.
The bookmobile is mainly staffed by part-time employees. It runs 15 to 20 hours a week, including time to service and to change its collections.
By law, the drivers must have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) because they are driving a heavy, large vehicle.
If you have questions about the bookmobile, contact the library at 472-2163 during its regular hours.