Two new library bookmobiles are now visiting communities throughout North Central Washington.
North Central Regional Library purchased the new mobile libraries this spring to replace the old one that broke down last year and was retired after many years of service.
The rural schools bookmobile is now stationed in Omak and is currently visiting schools in Republic, Nespelem, Orient, Keller, Inchelium, Wilson Creek, Beaver Valley, Orondo, Palisades and the Paschal-Sherman Indian School on the Colville Reservation.
The community bookmobile works out of Wenatchee and visits adult living facilities, community festivals and farmers markets, and will be expanding its route to include stops in rural communities.
The primary goal of having bookmobiles has always been to bring library services to people who cannot easily access them, said Luke Ellington, bookmobile manager for NCRL.
“But we also want to surprise residents and meet people in our communities who might not know what this library has to offer,” he added.
With the exception of Republic, the school bookmobile visits locations that do not have a public library and, in some cases, don’t have a school library. Classrooms are able to come into the bookmobile and check out books. Teachers also get books to support their curriculum, and a selection of story books are delivered to Head Start programs and kindergarten classes.
During the summer, the bookmobile will continue to visit schools on its rotation that offer summer programs to students. It will also make regular stops at day camps, federal free lunch sites, community parks and recreation programs, farmers markets, and community events and parades.
The larger community bookmobile is now visiting retirement, assisted living and memory care facilities. It also participated in the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival youth and grand parade and the Classy Chassis Parade, and has set up at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market.
It’s route is still being developed, but it recently began stopping at the community of Plain near Lake Wenatchee. It will soon add a stop at the rural neighborhood of Ponderosa near Plain.
The bookmobile will also be a mainstay at community festival and events, such as the Cashmere Rhythm & Blues Festival and the NCW Fair in Waterville later this year.
“We hope to partner with other community organizations to add value and support to what other nonprofits are already doing in their communities,” Ellington said.
Improving on the old design, the new bookmobiles are larger, more user friendly, and feature colorful lights, sound and eye-catching exterior designs.
“We wanted to create a space that is more akin to a public library space,” Ellington said. “These bookmobiles are more open and inviting, with windows and natural light. Families come in together and many sit right down on the floor and parents will read to their children — and there’s space for others to move around them.”
Many visitors to the new bookmobiles share stories of visiting bookmobiles in their youth, he said.
“These are good memories they have,” he said. “They look back with nostalgia. We are creating those kinds of memories for our patrons now.”