Top Five Considerations When Purchasing a New Bookmobile

Fountaindale Public Library bookmobile with awning extended

Purchasing a new bookmobile opens up a world of possibilities for your community. Bookmobiles offer much more than simply delivering books on the go. These vehicles allow libraries and schools to reach underserved communities with everything from pop-up libraries to educational classes.

If your community is considering the purchase of a new custom bookmobile, be sure to spend some time carefully customizing the build. By designing a custom bookmobile, you can get a valuable resource out of your investment.

Keep in mind the following five considerations as you decide on the right bookmobile for your community’s needs.

#1: The Quality of the Chassis

One of the first considerations when customizing a bookmobile is the chassis on which the vehicle is constructed. While there are no right or wrong choices for bookmobile chassis, the key is to pick one that will meet your specific needs.

For example, if you are designing a large bookmobile, a Freightliner chassis will offer the power and durability you need to ensure reliability.

If, however, you are designing a smaller van-style bookmobile, you might want to consider a Ford for your chassis.

Regardless of the chassis you choose, be sure that you do your research and opt for a vehicle that provides long-term reliability. No matter how beautiful the interior layout of your build, it will only be as good as the chassis that transports the bookmobile from location to location. Work with your custom builder to determine the right vehicle make and model for your build.

#2: The Size and Style of the Build

Not all bookmobiles are built alike. In fact, bookmobiles can vary dramatically in size and style. Bookmobiles encompass everything from small truck builds with pop-out exterior shelving to large bus builds with computer labs and breakout rooms.

Take the time to determine the size and style of your custom bookmobile. Ask yourself the following questions to help you hone in on the specifics:

  • How many staff members will be transported in the bookmobile?
  • How many books do we need to transport?
  • What on-board technology will need to be included?
  • What equipment storage will be needed?
  • How many patrons do we want to host at a time?
  • What space do you have to store your vehicle on-site?

As you think through the layout and design of your bookmobile, be realistic about how much you can fit into the space. Talk to your custom builder about what size build is going to best serve your needs.

#3: The Capabilities of the Vehicle

In addition to the size and style of your bookmobile, consider the capabilities of the vehicle you design.

Do you need to take your bookmobile to remote locations with rough roads? If so, you might want to opt for a vehicle with AWD or upgraded wheels and tires.

If you plan to use your bookmobile in mostly urban settings, the considerations might be different. You might be more focused on technology options, such as built-in WiFi or backup cameras.

With the huge array of options available when customizing a bookmobile, the best place to begin is with a detailed list. By creating a list of must-have items, the custom builder you work with will have a better idea of how to ensure that your bookmobile is designed the right way from the start.

#4: Your Community’s Budget

Another determining factor in your bookmobile build will be your community’s budget. Take time to write out a detailed breakdown of how much you can spend on your build.

Going into the customization process with a budget determined will help you prioritize the customization. Your budget will affect how much you spend on the chassis, the add-ons, and any potential upgrade options.

#5: The Customization Team

One of the most important considerations when purchasing a new bookmobile is the team you work with to create the build.

When choosing a custom builder, look for a company that can offer all of the following:

  • An in-house design team: Working with an in-house design team will help ensure that your exact build specifications are met.
  • A state-of-the-art manufacturing facility: Ask any custom builder about their manufacturing facility. Working with a business that has its own manufacturing facility will allow for custom fabrication, installation, and assembly, all in one location.
  • A focus on quality customer service: At the end of the day, your experience purchasing a new bookmobile will be heavily affected by the customer service you receive. Look for a company that focuses on providing superior customer service. This should include everything from designing the original plans to delivering the final product.

When you work with the right team, customizing a bookmobile will be a positive experience and the vehicle you drive away with will meet your expectations. Never settle for less than the best when it comes to choosing a custom vehicle upfitter.

Customize Your Bookmobile Today

If you are thinking of purchasing a new bookmobile for your library district, school, or another community purpose, we are here to help. At Summit Bodyworks, we have years of experience assisting communities in designing custom bookmobiles.

Take for example a recent upfit we designed for the Fountaindale Public Library. The Fountaindale Public Library District designed their brand new bookmobile on a Freightliner M2 chassis. This custom bookmobile features upgrades such as interior and exterior monitors, custom shelving, adjustable desks, and a fun custom wrap to showcase the library’s presence in the community.

For further information on designing a new bookmobile, reach out to our team today. We will be more than happy to walk you through available options and to work with you to design the ideal bookmobile for your community’s needs.