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Categorized | Featured, News

New KDL Bookmobile hits the streets

Will visit Nelson Twp/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays

Many of the area’s baby boomers will remember the Bookmobile—a mobile library that visited neighborhoods during the 1960s and 70s. Kent District Library has resurrected that idea, and now has a Bookmobile delivering library service to local schools and communities. It will visit the Nelson Township/Sand Lake Library on Thursdays, starting November 1, from 1-5 p.m.

The Bookmobile was designed and created with the support of a $208,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation.

This mobile library will enable KDL to bring its services, programming and staff to Kent County residents living in underserved areas. One of KDL’s goals in bringing the Bookmobile to schools is to increase reading proficiency in third grade students. In 2016, 50 percent of Kent County third graders were not proficient in English language arts. Beginning in the 2019/20 school year, third graders who do not pass reading proficiency tests will be held back. The Bookmobile will help deliver services that are focused on improving third grade reading proficiency.

The Bookmobile is equipped with a collection of materials provided by a generous grant from the Frey Foundation. It also includes Wi-Fi, a large exterior video screen and modular shelves. The vehicle is also handicapped accessible and offers security features. A full year of fuel will be provided by the J&H Family Stores.

Julie Ridenour, president of the Steelcase Foundation, said: “The Steelcase Foundation is honored to partner with the Kent District Library and the Frey Foundation to return the bookmobile to Kent County. It is our hope that the travels of this vehicle will allow readers of every age to be part of the Steelcase Foundation vision of empowering people to reach their full potential. We hope the Bookmobile lights the imagination of all who visit, whether to check out books, use the bookmobile’s wireless and computer devises, or tap into the talents of the librarian.”
The Bookmobile will allow Kent District Library to make its programs and collection available to patrons, particularly students, beyond the walls of the branch library. Through a close partnership with Kent School Services Network, KDL will bring the Bookmobile to seven schools every other week. It will also visit senior centers, rural centers, summer day care programs and a variety of other locations throughout Kent County.

“This project is a game changer for KDL” said Sara Proano, community engagement manager for KDL. “Now we have the capacity of bringing the library to patrons, wherever they are. We understand that the services we offer not only foster learning and bring entertainment, but they help communities connect with available resources and that impacts their quality of life at many levels.”

The Bookmobile is 36 feet long, 11 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide. It weighs 22,000 pounds with the collection inside. The collection includes books, books in other languages, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines and videogames.

The Bookmobile schedule typically runs Mondays through Thursdays, plus Saturdays. Fridays are reserved for maintenance and special events.

For more information or to request a visit from the Bookmobile, visit www.kdl.org/bookmobile.

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