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Forsyth County Public Library set to debut Bookmobile

Residents on the west side of the county may catch a glimpse of the Bookmobile as it completes the final leg of its 1,400-mile journey from Fort Lupton, Co., where it was custom-built to meet the literary needs of Forsyth County’s readers, according to a press release from Forsyth County Public Library.

The launch of the Bookmobile is a result of the library’s strategic plan, especially the goal of serving the entire Forsyth County community.

“The idea of adding bookmobile services came out of our strategic planning retreat, which included patrons, elected officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Participants identified the need for delivery of library services beyond the boundaries of our buildings,” said Library Director Anna Lyle.

“Impact fees collected by Forsyth County made the goal into a reality,” Lyle said.

About $400,000 in impact fees funded the custom vehicle and its contents, including on board computer equipment and books.

The Bookmobile is expected to be fully outfitted and ready to begin building routes around Forsyth County in late November.

“We’re so excited to get behind the wheel and meet readers in the more remote areas of our county,” said Outreach Manager Sarah Reynolds, who leads the library’s Outreach team and is one of three library staff members who will operate the Bookmobile.

The Bookmobile will lower barriers to using public libraries by bringing books, technology, and resources to areas that are further away from the library’s physical locations. With nearly 250 square miles to cover in Forsyth County and over 236,000 residents, demand for the Bookmobile’s services is expected to be high, according to the release.

“We’ve been working with local organizations to identify areas where travel to existing library branches is difficult or inconvenient because of limited transportation options. Those locations will be among the Bookmobile’s first routes,” Reynolds said.

The Bookmobile is expected to begin visiting housing authority locations, parks, food banks, and other stops, primarily in the northern part of Forsyth County. Additional locations, such as schools and community gathering places in the southern part of the county, are expected to be included in the Bookmobile’s routes in 2021.

With bright blue paint, a collection of 3,500 books, modular furniture, hydraulic wheelchair lift, and a 22-foot awning sheltering a 72-inch television screen, the Bookmobile will serve as a rolling ambassador to expand awareness about all the materials and resources Forsyth County Public Library offers residents.

“An important part of bringing the Bookmobile to these remote areas will be to talk with families and individuals who may not have visited our libraries and introduce them to the free services public libraries provide,” Reynolds said.

Students enrolled in Forsyth County Schools who visit the Bookmobile can learn how to access their free virtual Forsyth County Public Library card. Other students, children, adults and seniors visting Bookmobile stops will be encouraged to apply for a free library card, if they do not already have one.

Information about the Bookmobile, including routes, stops, or other special appearances, will be posted as details becomeavailable on the library’s website.