|Oct 01, 2011 --
Monterey County Free Libraries operates two bookmobiles that visit over 30 communities on a regular schedule. Many of the communities served by the bookmobile are home to low-income families that may have difficulty finding transportation to the county library, and cannot enjoy the luxury of a personal home computer and internet service. Therefore, the "come to you" services of a bookmobile are vital.
In the past year, the monthly average of bookmobile users in southern portion of Monterey County increased over 60% to nearly 400, and the average monthly circulation of library materials doubled. It is expected that the need will continue to increase with the addition of three new stops in Chualar, San Lucas, and Parkfield whose libraries are closed for remodeling.
Monterey County Free Libraries had been struggling to meet the increased demand for the bookmobile service due to an aging bookmobile. The 15 year old vehicle was constantly pulled off the route for repairs which resulted not only in high costs for the library, but a loss of important service to hundreds of users.
USDA Rural Development provided a $105,000 Community Facilities Grant to help purchase a new bookmobile and equipment.
The new and improved bookmobile started serving communities in August and is well equipped to handle demand with 3,000 library books, DVDs, as well as self-check-out capabilities. Not only do the residents of these rural communities now have a reliable source for books and materials, but the bookmobile also features three computers with internet access. Students and adults now have the ability to conduct online research or use the service for job searches. And everyone can rest assured that the new bookmobile will be able to maintain the schedule and reach all the communities as planned.
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