Bookmobile aims to add patrons

The new bookmobile went into circulation last month.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lori Snyder and her 8-year-old son live about 10 miles from New Castle, but they are just footsteps away from library books each month.
Last Wednesday, Snyder walked to the Scott Township Fire Hall on Pa. Route 108 to the New Castle Library bookmobile. The last few trips have been to the library's newly purchased bookmobile.
"It's a lot roomier and brighter," said Snyder, who was looking at the children's section books for her son, who had gone back to school the week before.
"My son really loves to read and between us, we really take advantage of the bookmobile," she said.
The new, custom-built motor home designed for bookmobile use went into service Aug. 21. The library bought the $106,000 Ford vehicle from Farber Specialty in Columbus.
Though the library has offered bookmobile services for several years, this is the first automobile used for the service truly designed for books.
The old, the new
Susan Walls, New Castle Public Library librarian, said before this new vehicle, a retrofitted conversion van carted books around the county. The bookmobile travels throughout the county visiting many day-care centers and elderly homes as well as rural spots like the Scott Township Fire Hall.
Gwen Radachy, bookmobile librarian, said the new bookmobile is much more accessible. The elderly and the very young had a hard time climbing into the old one, she said.
The new bookmobile is 26 feet long and is able to hold 3,000 books, movies and compact discs. The last bookmobile only had room for about 800 items, she said.
Radachy said she is slowly filling up the new bookmobile.
In addition to the extra space for books, the new bookmobile has a computer for Radachy to scan books in and out.
With the old bookmobile, she had to write reference numbers by hand and then enter them into the computer system after returning to the library.
The bookmobile has about 500 patrons, but Walls said they are hoping the new vehicle will attract more readers.
"After Erie County bought a new bookmobile, its circulation tripled," she said. Walls said they hope to achieve about 3,000 monthly circulation.
The library received grants from the Caroline Knox Memorial Trust and the Mae Emma Hoyt Foundation to help pay for the vehicle.
The library board of directors also paid some of the costs, Walls said.
A bookmobile open house is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 25 at the New Castle Public Library parking lot on North Mill Street.

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