How to Partner with Your Community for Bookmobile Events

People gathered outside for a community wvent

Bookmobiles are a wonderful community outreach tool. These vehicles can be designed with almost any desired layout and in any size imaginable. From a small van that simply transports a book collection to a remote location to a large truck upfit that features a full mobile learning lab, a bookmobile can be the perfect tool for libraries, schools, and counties to reach residents throughout their community.

If you are using a bookmobile as a community outreach tool, partnering with your community to further your reach is the best way to ensure the maximum use of your mobile unit. Today, we’ll take a look at the best tips for creating partnerships in your community to host ongoing bookmobile events throughout the year ahead.

#1: Choose a Community Coordinator

If your district or center does not already have a community coordinator, designate someone to be in charge of building these relationships. A community coordinator should be someone who can effectively reach out to other organizations in the community, creating meaningful connections and partnerships.

Often, it makes the most sense to ask your district director, communications director, or event coordinator to take on this role. Depending on the size of your community, you might even consider hiring a dedicated part-time or full-time community coordinator whose sole responsibility is organizing joint bookmobile events in the community.

#2: Tap into Ongoing Events

As you look to leverage your bookmobile for more events around your community, begin by tapping into ongoing events.

For example, all of the following community events can be the perfect way to get your bookmobile out in front of more residents of your city or town:

  • Farmers markets: Does your community host a weekly or monthly farmers market? If so, talk to the coordinator of this event about bringing your bookmobile. You can even curate a specific book collection to complement the farmers market, including books on nutrition, soil health, and gardening.
  • Festivals: If your community hosts music, arts, or other festivals throughout the year, talk to the festival coordinator about how your bookmobile might plug into these events. You can host a pop-up library or workshop with your bookmobile that complements the festival’s theme.
  • Health fairs: Often, hospitals or local medical clinics will host health fairs at office parks, universities, or schools. Consider joining forces and attending these health-focused events. Here, you can provide additional services for the community, encouraging residents to check out books or gather information about their health through library resources.

#3: Get Creative with Your Bookmobile Design

One of the best ways to make it easier to partner with your community is to get creative with the design of the mobile unit.

Rather than just investing in a bookmobile that features shelving for books and a simple check-out space for patrons, think about a layout that is more inclusive of extra activities.

For example, all of the following designs can help make it possible for you to host more events in your bookmobile that cater to your community’s needs:

  • Mobile computer lab with WiFi: Next time you are looking to partner with other community organizations, being able to offer a mobile computer lab can be extremely beneficial. This can allow attendees to access information and WiFi without leaving the event.
  • Classroom layout: Equipping your bookmobile with seating and a classroom-like setting can make it easy to partner with almost any community event. Here, workshops can be hosted, talks or lectures given, and groups can gather.
  • Makerspace: From farmers markets to art festivals, if your bookmobile has room for a makerspace, this can be an excellent way to offer an added benefit to almost any event. Here, attendees can try their hand at new crafts and skills.

#4: Gather Community Feedback

As you look for ways to increase the use of your bookmobile at community events, don’t forget to ask the community you are serving for their feedback.

Any time you attend an event, set up a feedback mechanism to gather information from attendees about what they would love to see in the future. Record all this feedback and gather data on what trends you see from community members.

If possible, assign someone on your team to also reach back out to those who are willing to share their ideas and gather further information about what would make your bookmobile more useful to residents in the area.

The more you can listen to your community, the more you can focus on using your bookmobile to provide your community with the services they need.

#5: Ask the Team for Input

In addition to your community members, your own internal team is a great source for extra ideas for future bookmobile events. Host a meeting each quarter where library staff can provide input on upcoming event ideas.

After the meeting, take all the presented ideas and begin looking into which options are most viable. You can also create a calendar, determining which months your bookmobile is most busy and which months you can add in new events.

Work with Summit Bodyworks to Design a Custom Bookmobile

Bookmobiles are a wonderful way to increase your library’s community outreach. When you partner with other local community organizations, you can strengthen your reach, providing much-needed services to residents across the area.

At Summit Bodyworks, we are here to help you design the ideal bookmobile for your needs. We can ensure that you have all the latest and best onboard technology and equipment, allowing you to optimize the use of your bookmobile for community events.

Want to see our work in action? Check out the Fountaindale Public Library District Bookmobile. This bookmobile was built on the Freightliner M2 chassis, ensuring ample space for its large layout and design. This bookmobile features interior and exterior monitors, custom shelving, adjustable desks, and of course a fun custom wrap.

If you are interested in designing a bookmobile for your district, reach out to our team today to learn more.