Monday, July 3, 2017
A ROVING BOOKMOBILE?! I WISH I COULD DRIVE IT by Michael Gettel-Gilmartin
The other day a friend of mine gave me a copy of High Country News ("For people who care about the West.") It wasn't a magazine with which I was familiar, but it turned out to be a fascinating read. The November 14, 2016 edition focused on writers in the West, and I enjoyed browsing through the articles. But one that really made me sit up straight was a fabulously written piece by a librarian called R. Kelley. (I'm not sure of the librarian's gender--it's never mentioned in the piece--so I will use the s/he construction.)
R. Kelley drives the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library Bookmobile "around the second-largest county in America--through sparse deserts, blue volcanic mountains, and forests, towns, and villages." S/he describes the bookmobile driver as wearing "many hats, including transient therapist, reference librarian, janitor, wheelchair assistant, fill-in hunting buddy and Dear Abby substitute."
As a lifelong urbanite, I was fascinated by the glimpse of life in a part of the U.S. of which I am completely unfamiliar. My library system is vast and gleaming, brick-and-mortar, with programs aplenty. This "great Culture Ferry" is literally a lifeline to the people it serves in this vast county. Imagine being one of those kids "in the middle of nowhere," for whom the bookmobile "can be as exciting as a circus coming to town!" Honestly, if someone wants to write a middle grade novel with kids who love a bookmobile, I will read it immediately.
And if Flagstaff ever needs another bookmobile driver, count me in!
You need to read the article in full--it is worth it while you drink your morning coffee.
What are the libraries like in your community? Have you ever experienced a Bookmobile? If so, where?
Happy July, Mayhemmers. Happy Independence Day tomorrow!