Bookmobiles were originally conceived as a mobile form of library outreach, and the perception persists that bookmobiles are primarily for rural locations or small towns without libraries of their own. However, the presence of a brick-and-mortar library does not mean that all the members of that community have equal access to library services. Distance, time, transportation, and language can all be barriers that prevent community members from utilizing the services that libraries provide. Consequently, bookmobile librarianship offers a potential solution to many of these outreach problems. In addition to serving as mobile book depositories, bookmobiles can be outfitted with computer stations that feature mobile internet connectivity, and their staff can participate in neighborhood events and bring educational programming to local parks, churches, clubs, and other existing community gathering places. By using my experience starting my own bookmobile, the Antelope Lending Library, I will demonstrate the ways in which bringing the library and library services to the community in bookmobiles offers a unique opportunity to both librarians and community members to connect in ways that are comfortable to both parties and can bridge the informational and digital divide that so often impedes those who are unable to access library services in traditional ways.
bookmobile, outreach, library, Antelope Lending Library, case study
Copyright © 2015 Cassandra I. Elton
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