'That's how we roll': Elgin library launches bookmobile
In the words of 7-year-old Madelynne Seamans of Elgin, books are cool "because they are fun to read and because they make you smart."
Her family and other residents of Gail Borden Public Library District will have even more access to books, and other items, when the district's new bookmobile hits the streets Monday. The library bought the $155,000 "gently used" bookmobile in the fall from a library in Ohio and unveiled it Wednesday, which was National Bookmobile Day.
Library board president Jean Bednar said the library took a leap of faith "to bring a big green bus that none of us had seen." But, "This is how we roll," she said, eliciting laughter from the 100 or so people who showed up for the ceremony and tour of the bookmobile.
Library Executive Director Carole Medal said the launching was the fulfillment of a vision that started about six years ago. The last time Elgin was served by a bookmobile was in the 1960s, when several libraries shared one.
Madelynne's mother Jenny Seamans said she's glad people who don't live as close to the library as her family will benefit from the bookmobile. "I think it's neat," Jenny Seamans said. "I was checking out the (bookmobile schedule's) lineup and it really hits just about every spot. It's going to be accessible to everyone."
The nearly 34-foot bookmobile is stocked with about 2,500 books in English and Spanish, DVDs, large-type books and audiobooks, said Danny Rice, who recently was hired as manager of bookmobile services. The collection was named after longtime philanthropists and library benefactors Marlene Shales and her late husband, Jack. "(The bookmobile) is wonderful. It's marvelous. I would go into a dance and song," said Marlene Shales, adding she wished her husband could have seen it.
The Kiwanis Club of Elgin and the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation also contributed to the effort.
The library serves 65 square miles in Elgin, South Elgin and portions of Hoffman Estates, Streamwood and Bartlett. The bookmobile will serve people of all ages across the district, ranging from senior centers to neighborhoods with students least ready for kindergarten, and everything in between, library officials said.
Staff members said they consulted with community partners -- including Elgin Area School District U-46, the Housing Authority of Elgin and the city's Eastside Recreation Center -- to determine which areas of the district most needed bookmobile services.
"We really wanted to take a look at areas that the lowest library card usage and the highest need," Rice said. "People who, for one reason or another, might find it challenging or inconvenient to come to the library."
The bookmobile at first will be in use in the afternoons and evenings Monday through Thursday; Saturdays and city park stops will be added in the summer, Rice said. "We're very excited to get out into the community and really bring the library to people where they are," he said.
For information about stops and schedule, visit gailborden.info/bookmobile.