Have Books will Travel is the mission of Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) Bookmobile! Many of us grew up in small towns and have fond Bookmobile memories. Whether you live in Lincoln or Lancaster County, Bookmobiles are part of our history and our future. A strong library system demonstrates the value system of our community and we recognize that physical buildings are important and necessary.
Many of us relied on bookmobile service for economic, geographic, or physical reasons, so the bookmobile is not only the library, it was the only library. LCL Bookmobile service began in 1975 and is changing to meet the growing demand of our citizens. Over the past several years, bookmobile services have expanded beyond books to include computers, internet workstations, DVDs, video games, and even e-readers. LCL is expanding service by purchasing two vehicles, one gas-powered and one electric, to replace an aging larger vehicle with mechanical issues. The smaller vehicles will be able to visit smaller sites that previously were impossible to reach due to the vehicle’s size, almost double the sites visited, and provide consistent service to Lincoln and Lancaster County.
Research has demonstrated that reading to children five and under is one of the most important things we can do to ensure success in school.
Bookmobile service is often the only opportunity for many young children and families to take advantage of library services, often due to economic challenges, location issues, working parents, and so much more. Bookmobile visits to daycare sites enable these children to participate in the summer reading programs that not only entertain the children but also helps to avoid the “summer slide” — the loss of reading skills in school-age children over the summer. Often seniors experience mobility and transportation issues, so are unable to travel to a library so depend upon bookmobiles for books, technology service, and help with their phones and tablets. An 80-year-old Senior Center patron was encouraged to sign up for his first Library Card. He checked out books and when he returned them the next week, related that “he didn’t even know he liked to read.” He’s been a weekly patron ever since.
The Bookmobile participates in community events, including the Streets Alive Festival, block parties, and church events. The purchase of two tents will expand the program possibilities at these events beyond the vehicle. These community events reach people who typically do not use libraries or even know what our libraries have to offer. A block party in the Harley and Clinton neighborhoods brought almost 200 people, many of them new immigrants unfamiliar with libraries, into the vehicle and hundreds picked up library card information.
The bookmobile idea is attributed to Mary Titcomb who in 1905 believed that by going mobile, we will reach a wider range of communities, make more friends, and continue to share our love of books. Bookmobiles have a proud legacy of service in our area and this project will build and expand these opportunities.
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