New bookmobile is an exciting chapter

September 17, 2012 by  

The Rochester Public Library has hit the road with a brand new bookmobile.

After staff installed shelves and powered up the computers, the library’s bookmobile made its first stop in nearby Byron on September 15. It is just one stop of 77 other stops that the 40-foot trailer will make in Olmsted County every two weeks. Poster printing is one of the services that Rochester print companies could offer the library, announcing times, dates, and locations at which book-lovers would find the traveling library.

On the outside, the bookmobile features a brilliant mural. Inside the accessible trailer, fitted with a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs, there are as many as 6,000 books ready for patrons to borrow and enjoy, making the Rochester Bookmobile one of the most popular traveling libraries in the state according to the head of reader services, Kim Edson.

This new bookmobile was four years in the making. It was purchased for $385,000, which includes the interior conversion, technology, and the expertise to carry out the plans, said Edson. It is partially powered by solar panels and features a floor made of recycled rubber.

At check out, the bookmobile’s wireless computer hooks up with Rochester’s central system. The old bookmobile, a refitted bus, will soon be retired. Edson explained:

“It was really showing signs of wear … and it’s sort of like a car — when the repairs start costing more than the payments, you know it’s time. Of primary importance was to stay on the road and in service, and the repairs were causing interruption of service.”

The library can be contacted at 507-328-2302 for anyone who wants to request a bookmobile stop near them.