The Purpose and Benefits of a Mobile Library

Exterior of a blue bookmobile vehicle

Every day, community members around the country visit their local libraries to access materials, research information and utilize resources. However, making it to the nearest library location is difficult or impossible for some people. In other cases, members of the community never step foot in their local library because they are simply unaware of what the library has to offer.

There are many places where a mobile library can become highly beneficial. Library districts often utilize these vehicles to improve outreach services. Today, we’ll look at the top six benefits of a mobile library.

#1: Bringing Physical Assets to Underserved Communities

Many mobile libraries focus on bringing books, magazines, and other physical assets to portions of the community that are otherwise overlooked. These underserved populations are often incapable of visiting library locations for various reasons.

Examples of how mobile libraries can help in the underserved communities include the following:

  • Reaching senior citizens: Many senior citizens can no longer drive to the library. Whether it is due to limited mobility or a lack of transportation, a mobile library can help serve these communities by visiting senior citizens and nursing homes.
  • Visiting food banks and other community resource centers: It can be challenging for those who struggle with stable housing to find a way to access the library’s resources. And in many cases, the children in these situations are the ones most impacted by the lack of library access. Mobile libraries can bring valuable resources to these families where they live by visiting food banks and other community resource centers.
  • Providing educational resources to children: Many mobile libraries are used to deliver books and educational materials directly to children at their schools. This can help expand the number of resources available in a school district, ensuring that no portion of the community is underserved.

#2: Reaching Rural America

Visiting a library location can be difficult for those who live in rural areas. It often requires a long drive, which can be prohibitive for those with limited time and resources.

Unfortunately, many rural communities do not have the funding to build their own library. In other cases, if a library does exist in a rural area, it may have limited resources.

A mobile library can bring the resources funded by larger cities in the community to these rural locations. All across rural America, hard-working citizens deserve equal access to books and materials. Mobile libraries help to bridge this gap, ensuring fair access for all.

#3: Turning More Citizens into Active Library Users

In some communities, the number of citizens signing up for library cards or actively using the library’s resources is dwindling. This is often due to a lack of understanding about all the library’s resources.

Mobile libraries can canvass the community, helping to spread awareness about the plethora of both physical and digital assets available to library users. This, in turn, can spark new sign-ups and inspire those who already have library cards to become active users.

#4: Allowing for Ample Social Distancing

Social distancing over the past two years has been an ongoing challenge for libraries that serve large populations. And for those in the community that needs to be extremely careful about potential exposure to viruses, this has limited their ability to access library resources.

The beauty of a mobile library is that it can be set up to allow for ample social distancing. These mobile units often feature pop-out shelving along the exterior of the vehicle. This allows patrons to browse books safely outdoors, without entering a confined area.

This makes mobile libraries a great choice during peak seasons of illness. These mobile units can help reach people who would not feel safe entering a brick-and-mortar location while also helping protect staff members.

#5: Providing Bilingual Services

In many communities, a portion of the population does not speak English as their first language. This can make it challenging when trying to access information and resources. A mobile library can be set up to offer bilingual services. This library can be stocked with books in a group’s native language and staffed by a bilingual speaker.

This has a massive benefit for communities where many work hard towards English fluency and even citizenship.

#6: Offering Education Opportunities to People from All Walks of Life

For many decades, Libraries have been an important resource for educational opportunities. Here, senior citizens can take computer literacy courses. Spanish speakers can practice their English. And children can access a wealth of educational information.

Mobile libraries can take all this and more to people from all walks of life, ensuring that the entire community has access to these important resources. Mobile libraries are an excellent solution for reaching larger citizens, from hosting pop-up computer classes to assisting young mothers with nutritional classes.

Purchase a Mobile Library for Your Town or District Today

Mobile libraries offer an array of benefits. These quality vehicles can be designed to be as large or as small as needed, thereby meeting the needs of any size community. If your library district, city, or county is interested in a mobile library, talk to our team at Summit Bodyworks. We have many years of experience helping with the design and manufacturing of bookmobiles.

For example, check out our recent build — the Piedmont Pop-Up Bookmobile. This small, unique design works as a perfectly sized mobile library. With this truck, the library can now bring resources to the community in a convenient and fun way.

To learn more about our inventory and the designs we carry, talk to our team today. We look forward to being your community’s partner for your next bookmobile design.