In mid-December the Board of Trustees of the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library gave the go-ahead for the library to purchase two new bookmobiles to replace those currently owned and operated by the library.
The current bookmobiles are part of the library’s outreach services, serving patrons at 18 separate locations throughout the county. After nearly 20 years of braving the elements (and Topeka’s streets), the current bookmobiles are reaching the end of their usefulness. With rising maintenance costs and hard-to-find replacement parts it only made sense that the library look towards the future and plan for replacements.
The new bookmobiles will be largely be paid for by private funding; The Library Foundation is currently working on a funding strategy.
Over the next few months the library will send vehicle specifications out to bid. Staff is carefully selecting criteria which will make the future bookmobiles not just more attractive and reliable, but user-friendly from both patron and staff perspectives. From the time an order is placed it can take nearly a year for the vehicle to be built and delivered. As such, the goal is to purchase and have street-ready one bookmobile in early 2014 and another in early 2015.
We’ll do our best to keep bookmobile fans updated on the process via blog posts like this one. In the meantime, you can read about the eclectic life of bookmobiles in various communities around the world.