Calvert Library invites the community to the ribbon-cutting for the new Bookmobile on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 2pm at Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center on Dares Beach Road, Prince Frederick. RSVP’s are requested to firstname.lastname@example.org or by registering online at calvertlibrary.info by October 12, 2021.
When Calvert Library was first created in 1959, it relied heavily on a bookmobile to provide service on our long narrow peninsula. There was one physical location in Prince Frederick that was only open on Fridays, 1-9pm. Monday through Thursday, our county was served by the first Calvert Library bookmobile. That bookmobile was replaced by Rolling Tomes in 1970. In 1981, the Twin Beaches Branch opened in North Beach and Fairview Branch opened on Rt. 4 at the old Fairview Elementary School. Rolling Tomes continued to make community stops throughout Calvert County. In 1988, the Southern Branch was opened in Lusby and Rolling Tomes was replaced with a van called Traveling Editions. With four physical locations opened, Calvert Library’s Outreach service switched from community stops to visits focused on licensed childcare providers and homebound individuals (usually elderly or disabled customers for whom travel was difficult).
When state funds became available in 2009, the rather long-in-the-tooth Traveling Editions van was supplemented with a Chevy Traverse for material exchange. As Traveling Editions became less reliable and yes, even decrepit, the Outreach Team relied more and more heavily on the SUV for their visits…reserving Traveling Editions for the visits to childcare providers where the children were able to get on the van and select their own materials from the small collection, as they might in the library.
One of the biggest challenges Calvert County has is that you can’t really walk to most destinations…other transportation is required. We have quite a few citizens for whom that is a struggle, children especially. And while each physical location of Calvert Library is on the county public transit system, that transit system is limited and children rarely use it.
So once again, the community began suggesting that the library needed a bookmobile to bring the library into communities, especially during after-school hours in those neighborhoods with many children. In 2018, while he was a County Commissioner, current School Board member Pat Nutter championed making a new Bookmobile a reality for Calvert County, successfully getting the $200,000, 26-foot-vehicle included in the budget for fiscal year 2019. Friends of Calvert Library provided $23,000 in funding and a Library Services and Technology grant provided another $24,000. This replaces the 33-year old van and upgrades the miniature library-on-wheels to include two computer workstations for customers, a printer, Wi-Fi service, a wheelchair lift to make the vehicle accessible and an awning to allow for comfortable outside service and events. The vehicle has a generator to power the technology and warm/cool the vehicle even when it is not running but it also has large batteries that can be solar charged so the generator will not have to run most of the time. This vehicle also has more safety features than the old van, such as front and rear proximity sensors, backing alarm and exterior cameras.
Community stops include such locations as East John Youth Center, SMILE, Prince Frederick Senior Village, Solomon’s Town Center Park and Silverwood Farms. While a preliminary route has been established, Calvert Library Mobile Services team will continue to gather community input and evaluate best deployment. Expect to see the bookmobile at community events like the County Fair and National Night Out as well.
Calvert Library Mobile Services Supervisor Lisa Wieland said, “We are so excited to extend our service through the bookmobile. We know we will be able to answer more questions, provide more learning opportunities, increase access to technology and share more straight-up joy! Our Mobile Services team is so grateful to the many people who have made this service possible for Calvert County.”
The schedule for bookmobile stops can be found online at calvertlibrary.info. For more information, call Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291.