Article Published on EatSleepPlayBeaufort.com on January 30, 2017
After 23 years without a bookmobile, the Beaufort County Library is gearing up to get “on the road again” this Spring. When Beaufort County Council approved the purchase of a new bookmobile last June, library staff jumped into high gear to have a new bookmobile stocked, staffed, and on the road in 2017. The brand-new Beaufort County Bookmobile is tentatively set to hit the streets by the end of April.
While the new bookmobile will be straight from the manufacturer, bookmobile service in Beaufort County is not new. In fact, bookmobiles have been serving readers across Beaufort County since 1956 when Mrs. Wilhelmina Barnwell and Mrs. Ethel Bailey used their personal vehicles to deliver books from the Laura Towne Library at Penn Community Center to children on St. Helena Island and Lady’s Island.
Shortly after integration and the formation of the county-wide Beaufort County Library system in 1962, an additional bookmobile was purchased to meet public demand for books. From 1962 to 1993, various Beaufort County Library bookmobile librarians logged several hundred thousand miles delivering books across the county. In fact one of these bookmobile librarians, Rosa Cummings, who currently serves as Technical Services Coordinator for the Beaufort County Library system, started her library career on the bookmobile.
When asked about the revival of bookmobile service in Beaufort County, Rosa remarked, “I am so excited that the Bookmobile will once again serve Beaufort County. It is an invaluable service to outlying areas bringing the library to the people.”
The new bookmobile will be fully equipped to provide nearly all of the services customers expect from a branch library, including signing up for or renewing library cards, checking out and returning books, and picking up books put on hold from the online library catalog. The fully handicap accessible 26’ bookmobile will feature shelving space for 2,500 items, a public address system, and WIFI connection for staff connectivity to the library network at all stops.
Behind the wheel will be former Beaufort Branch Library reference librarian, Amanda Brewer and an assistant yet to be selected. “Although we have five strategically placed libraries in our county, we know there are people who face obstacles in visiting a library building,” says bookmobile librarian Amanda Brewer. “The bookmobile gives us a unique way to bring the library to them.”
The bookmobile will operate on a 2 week rotation stopping at over 40 locations, including assisted living facilities and after school centers across Beaufort County. The bookmobile will also visit community events and festivals throughout the year. Visit www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/bookmobile for more information about the bookmobile, schedules, and launch date.