Books on wheels: Expanding Merced County library services


Books are a person’s entry point into a world of imagination and knowledge.
That is why librarians believe every child and adult should have access to a library near their homes, and Merced County’s new Bookmobile is an effort to make that happen.
With nearly 2,500 books, three laptops and Wi-Fi access, the Bookmobile is an effort to bring library services to residents who do not live near a county library branch.
County librarian Amy Taylor said this mobile service is especially important in areas where four libraries closed last year for budgetary reasons.
“We wanted to put library services back into those communities,” Taylor said. “The mobile library was a very economical and viable option for the library system.”
The Bookmobile has all the services a physical library has. Books in English and Spanish are available, as well as materials for children, adults and young adults. DVDs, books on CDs and online databases are also available.
The Bookmobile will make weekly stops at six locations throughout the county.
As with any other library, people need their library card to check out books, Taylor said. Library card applications are available on site.
Books can be returned at the Bookmobile. Taylor explained that residents are not limited to the items on the bus. People can request books or place items on hold that they can pick up later at one of the Bookmobile’s locations.
“Libraries are important to everyone,” Taylor said. “Literacy is a link for education and skills, even to apply for a job, you need Internet access,” she said.
Taylor also plans on organizing events such as summer reading programs at the Bookmobile locations.
The vehicle was purchased in November 2012, but it took a few years to transform it into the Bookmobile. The purchase was made possible by a federal grant for $199,870.
Taylor said the Bookmobile project is not done and the library system is still looking to add a few more sites to its route.
Those interested in having the Bookmobile come to their area can contact the Merced County Library at (209) 385-7643 and ask to speak to Taylor. The Bookmobile is also available for community outreach events on Fridays and Saturdays.
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