I work at the Erie County Public Library System and there’s this fairly new feature called Library on Wheels Bookmobile. The bookmobile goes to different places around Erie County and it takes the books to the people instead of the other way around. It has over 3,000 items that people can choose from including movies and music. There is even free wi-fi and laptops people can use. So it’s just like a regular library expect its on wheels! It is also relevant to social media because it promotes the library as well.
What is so great about a bookmobile in this day and age is that it keeps the library relevant. People flock to food trucks all the time and if the bookmobile is also there it will make more people interested in it. People have busy daily lives and by parking the bookmobile outside of offices or grocery stores it will increase the amount of people who will step inside. The bookmobile also goes to Boys and Girls Club in the inner city where it will encourage children to read as well. It also takes wi-fi to places that don’t normally have wi-fi which can make quite a difference in a community
I have been to the Library on Wheels Bookmobile and there are lines to get inside it. Most people are curious about the bookmobile especially children. Libraries always hold that sense of wonder and the bookmobile captures that feeling again. People want to see what all the fuss is about and it gives the Erie County Public Library publicity.
Early bookmobiles in the United States were one of the first ways to promote the library system. It was in use in the United States as early as the 19th century. Mary Lemist Titcomb a librarian herself, developed the early bookmobile because she thought the library wasn’t reaching as many as it could. The early bookmobile was just a horse and buggy but later on got converted again by another librarian. Sarah Byrd Askew was next to revolutionize the bookmobile by driving her model T in rural areas just like Mary Lemist Titcomb did. Bookmobiles became quite popular in the mid 20th century spanning across the United States. Even though bookmobiles aren’t as popular as they were in the mid 20th century, we still have them today and around the world they are still in use.
We still have a digital divide in the United States and bookmobiles can be one way to combat that. By bringing wi-fi to areas that don’t normally have it, people can take advantage of that. It also brings attention to the library system and shows people all the library can offer them. I still have people who come into the library and are surprised we carry brand new DVDs. The bookmobile is a way to showcase all we have to offer and encourage people to visit the library systems. People can also follow the bookmobile’s schedule on social media to know where it’s going next. It’s a great social media tool and reaches people from all corners of Erie county.
It’s very exciting that Erie county has a bookmobile of its own. I encourage everyone to visit the bookmobile because it’s a great experience and you may even end up checking out a book or two. Here is the bookmobile upcoming schedule for February and the beginning of March: http://www.buffalolib.org/content/bookmobile-event.
Hope to see you there!