Wednesday wasn’t the best time to have an outdoor birthday party. But parked outside the main building of the Traverse Area District Library was the guest of honor – a new “bookmobile”.
April 6 is Library and Bookmobile Awareness Day for the American Library Association. It was a good reason to throw a party celebrating the library’s new bookmobile, a project the library has been working on for several decades.
“We had a manager named Mike McGuire who helped make this building happen,” says Heather Brady, director of marketing and communications, referring to the main building on Woodmere Ave. “In fact the bookmobile was also on his wish list and when I started in June of 2020 we did a staff survey and asked staff to vote on the things they thought were the most important to them. Twenty years later, a bookmobile was still the most important thing. »
Library staff really noticed a need during the pandemic.
“It really drove home how difficult it is for some people to reach a library building even when it’s not a pandemic,” Brady says. “If you’re a kid, you can’t always get a ride. If you’re a senior, maybe you don’t feel like driving in bad weather or feel like Traverse City is too far away and you can’t get to one of our other Neither are branches, so with the bookmobile we can get stuff to people where they are.”
Rotary Charities helped make it a reality, but it took a year for the decorated Dodge Ram pickup truck to arrive due to supply chain issues. He is not yet quite ready to fill the many roles for which he is predestined.
“It’s not quite finished on the inside yet,” Brady says. “We are going to install an access point. It will be able to serve anyone in its vicinity with Wi-Fi. It will contain a laptop computer to consult books. Then depending on where we go it will depend on what we put inside. So there could be books. He might have STEM kits. There could be a 3D printer. There might be computers if we go to a job fair. There might be large print and audio books if we go to the Senior Center. It could contain local history and genealogy.
Although not yet ready for its intended use, the Bookmobile will run special errands around town until it can be completed.
There’s also a chance to celebrate Bookmobile Day again on Saturday, April 9 at the main Traverse District Library building at 11 a.m.