April 9, 2021
Across the US, libraries play a critical role in ensuring that communities have access to books, educational materials, computers, the internet, classes, and connection to resources — all at no cost.
For underserved communities, the role of the public library is even more important. However, in some cases, these communities are not able to access their public library, leaving them at a disadvantage.
This is why bookmobiles are designed to reach those areas and fill in the gap. Bookmobiles are available in a variety of styles and sizes, from small vans to large trailers. Regardless of the size or style of the bookmobile, they are a valuable asset for underserved communities.
In this guide, we will take a look at how your community might benefit from using a bookmobile to reach the underserved around you.
A brick-and-mortar library building is most often utilized by those living nearby. For communities with a large rural population, access to a physical library might not be a practical choice for those residing in the area.
This is particularly true for families where both parents are working. Driving to a physical location from a rural area can be a challenge for those families. Therefore, these children are often left out of easy access to literacy resources.
With its ability to travel, a bookmobile means more ground is covered and more of your community is served. Bookmobiles can be set up in smaller neighboring towns where access to a physical library is not possible. This allows children and adults to enjoy the benefits of the library without the burden of traveling to a nearby larger city.
Similar to the scenario above, a bookmobile gives your community the chance to reach those who are homebound. This can be a game-changer for the elderly and those without access to transportation.
Bookmobiles can travel to nursing homes, schools, and other areas where these populations might reside, offering similar services as a physical library would.
Far more than just a place to house books, bookmobiles are an excellent choice for providing access to community events for the underserved. Ideas for events hosted via a bookmobile include all of the following:
As you can see, there are many wonderful options to explore when it comes to creative community uses for your library’s bookmobile. The mobility of these units makes them ideal for reaching large portions of your underserved community with valuable resources.
In 2020, everyone learned the importance of WiFi access for all. However, the cost of broadband is simply out of reach for many families. In 2019, according to Microsoft, approximately half of all Americans were not connected to the internet at broadband speeds at home.
During the pandemic, many children were forced to switch over to remote learning. However, without the right access to the internet, this became an impossibility, putting many kids at risk of falling behind in their studies.
Furthermore, adults who needed access to the internet to work or apply for jobs were also placed in a bad situation.
This lack of high-speed internet access for low-income families has become known as the digital divide. Unfortunately, the digital divide can have lasting ramifications for these families. The divide can create a huge issue in terms of equality for underserved communities.
The good news is that bookmobiles can be outfitted with hot spots, providing much-needed internet access to these areas. This is hugely beneficial in regards to remote learning, continuing education, and access to online resources.
The wonderful ways that bookmobiles can benefit children and adults in underserved communities is immense. From hosting language classes to providing internet access to low-income families, a bookmobile is a resource center on the go.
If your library is interested in customizing a bookmobile for your community, talk to our team at Summit Bodyworks. We are passionate about ensuring that underserved communities are provided equal access to education, resources, and more. We look forward to helping you create the perfect unit for your community’s needs.
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