May 12, 2021
Bookmobiles offer a wonderful opportunity for community outreach. Far more than simply a way to bring books to patrons across town, a bookmobile can be utilized in numerous ways to serve communities in meaningful ways.
If your library district is considering the addition of a bookmobile, you may have questions about how much use you will get out of the vehicle.
For those considering the addition of a bookmobile to their fleet, consider the following creative ways you can put this vehicle to good use throughout the year.
A library is a place where free learning takes place every single day. These brick-and-mortar locations have long been an oasis for newcomers to our communities who are looking for ways to integrate into the local neighborhood.
For those who are not native English speakers, this is especially true. Libraries have often been a safe location where language skills can be acquired at no cost to the learner.
A bookmobile is an excellent way to take this same concept on the road. These mobile units allow you to host language classes in various locations around your community, while also allowing for flexibility in the hours a class is offered. This can be key in serving those who work during traditional library hours.
Bookmobiles today can be outfitted with computer stations, allowing patrons to take computer classes on the go.
Teaching basic computer classes is a great way to enhance the skill set of those in your community. From helping the elderly learn how to safely use a computer to providing classes focused on business computer skill basics, a bookmobile makes it easier to assist patrons across a wide area.
Consider hosting a rotating schedule of computer classes, starting with the most basic skills and working up to classes around specific programs, such as Microsoft Excel.
Libraries and health clinics can partner together to use bookmobiles as a mobile outreach center. Together, librarians and physicians can work to create increased awareness about health in the community.
Promote health and wellness by hosting pop-up clinics complete with informational centers.
For example, a library might curate an entire collection for both young and old around healthy living. Using a bookmobile, you can then schedule an event where books on health and wellness can be checked out and patrons can talk about health needs with a local clinic partner.
Farmer’s markets are a great location for bookmobiles to visit. Here, libraries can provide books and information around healthy eating, as well as information about growing their own food.
Other ideas might include setting up a storytime for kids each weekend at the farmer’s market, hosting informative classes on designing a healthy diet, and bringing in specialists to teach on the local environment.
Get creative with it and create a partnership with your local farmer’s market community.
Provide Literacy Courses in Underserved Communities
Unfortunately, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 21 percent of adults in the United States fall into the illiterate or functionally illiterate category.
Those who fall into this category are faced with numerous risks including decreased health, unemployment, and poverty.
A bookmobile allows you to provide literacy courses to underserved communities. Often, due to a lack of transportation and difficult work schedules, those who need this help the most struggle to make it to a library location. A bookmobile makes it possible to bring literacy classes to struggling regions of a community.
With unemployment rates still struggling to come down during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, people in our communities need assistance with job applications and improving their resumes.
A bookmobile outfitted with the right technology makes it possible for libraries to offer valuable resume and job application assistance across communities. This can go a long way in restoring hope to those who are struggling with unemployment.
For the elderly and homebound, it can be difficult to access fresh reading materials and to socialize with the surrounding community. This can leave our senior citizens feeling isolated and lonely.
Taking a bookmobile to nursing homes and assisted living centers gives these folks a chance to access the same materials as patrons who can visit a library location while enjoying the company of library staff.
Additionally, libraries can use bookmobiles to host story hours and other events at nursing homes and assisted living centers.
During the pandemic, remote learning became integral to the education system. While in-person learning has returned, there are still many students who are involved in hybrid classes or are still dependent upon connectivity to accomplish homework.
Unfortunately, not all students have access to reliable internet. This inequality in internet access can be detrimental to the growth of students. A bookmobile can be designed to act as a mobile hotspot. It can be driven to key areas in the community to provide students with the internet access they need to accomplish important school projects.
Many libraries today house makerspaces. These areas where patrons can access computers, 3-D printers, video editing tools, and traditional arts and crafts supplies.
A bookmobile is an excellent way to take this same concept and host pop-up makerspaces throughout the community.
Bookmobiles can be designed with big enough layouts to allow patrons to visit the mobile unit and take part in creative activities.
If you are interested in designing a custom bookmobile for your community, we invite you to check out some of our previously featured builds, such as our High Plains Library District Bookmobile.
A bookmobile can be an excellent addition to your community, allowing you to creatively put the vehicle to use year-round. Talk to our team today to learn more about creating a custom bookmobile for your district.
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