Keeping the Delaware County District Library’s bookmobile stocked and running requires the work of seven people and a large room for all the behind-the-scenes work to happen.
“We have seven staff members, four full-time and three part-time,” said Robbie Apt, community and family outreach services manager. “It doesn’t take a (Commercial Driver License) to drive the bookmobile. Everybody drives if they’re brave enough.”
However, things wouldn’t run as smoothly as they do without the large room in the back of the Orange Branch building connected to the bookmobile garage.
Apt said it’s the place where staff pull and organize books and materials for the approximately 450 patrons seen each year.
Apt said the library’s Family and Community Outreach Program started in the 1940s with the bookmobile. She said the program includes 15 separate services that continues to grow.
“It kind of escalates,” she said. “Every year we add something new.”
Apt said the bookmobile gets loaded the day before with everything for each of the stops it will make in any given day.
“The farthest we go is Cleveland Avenue,” Apt said. “We have stops up in Radnor, north of Delaware and Delaware State Park. We’re pretty far up there and then down to the Columbus city line in the south. We do get up and down (US) 23 a lot.”
Apt said the bookmobile leaves around 8:30 a.m. start one of its routes in the county. She said in a month the bookmobile will travel approximately 500 miles.
“Delaware County just keeps growing and making us busier,” Apt said.
Apt said when summer starts the programs offered during the school year will change making things busier. She said during the summer they see a lot more kids.
“During the school year we do school request for school librarians,” she said. “We stop doing that and add some other things.”
She said the next step in the program is a new bookmobile.
“It was approved by the board and it’s being built,” she said. “When we get that we’ll start evening stops which we don’t do right now in Radnor and Kilbourne.”
Apt said once the carts come off patrons will walk onto the new bookmobile at one end and exit at the opposite end.
Currently staff roll 13 carts loaded with books off the bookmobile at each stop for patrons to make choices from and roll them back on when it’s time to depart.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.
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