Library unveils new vehicle


For The Madera Tribune

The Madera County Board of Supervisors cut the ribbon for the Madera County Library’s new mobile library last week.

 

Although it isn’t titled a bookmobile, the Madera County Library officially unveiled its new mobile library during last weeks Madera County Board of Supervisors meeting.


“We are so excited about this,” said Madera County Librarian Krista Riggs. “It was a very exciting day for us at the library. Until now, our reach has been through our brick and mortar buildings and some outreach events near our library. Now we have our mobile library. It will allow us to expand our reach and services to areas where we don’t have branches.”


The Mercedes Sprinter Van will basically be a library on wheels. Riggs said that all of the amenities that you can find at the library, you can find in the van.


“Through the van, people will be able to get library cards, check out books, audiobooks and movies,” she said. “We have some really great themed learning kits where they can check out puzzles and games. They can also connect to free Wi-Fi through the van. We have a router on the top of the van so people can connect. We have a mobile printer.”


In addition, the van will also carry Chromebook laptops and hot spots for people to check out to connect to the internet.


“People commented at the board meeting about some connectivity issues, especially around La Vina,” Riggs said. “That was already one of the areas we were going to visit, so it’s perfect. Residents can check out laptops and hot spots to get internet at their home when the van is not there.”


Also, residents can go to the Madera County Library’s website and place a hold on any item they have, in addition to other branches throughout the Valley through a consortium that spans from Mariposa to Bakersfield.


“They can have the material delivered through the bookmobile to the different stops we will have,” she said.


The library is in the process of finalizing a route, but there are two areas they will try to hit — the west side and the mountains.


“There’s a tentative schedule on our website, but it’s not final, yet,” Riggs said. “We’re still waiting to confirm. We’re hoping to have two routes. One that will go west to La Vina and Dairlyland. We also hope to reach Fairmead, Coarsegold and Raymond. We’re also planning to reach out to some senior centers and participate in outreach events. We’ve already gotten some invitations for some parades.”


The main reason for the van is for the library to have the opportunity to expand its reach.


“We want to increase our awareness that the library is still out there,” Riggs said. “We offer much more than books. We have books that are important. We have the technology and the fun things for people to use and learn with.”


Although Riggs is the focal point of getting the van, she said it was because of her team that was able to secure the grant to get the van and get it customized.


“We are very lucky,” she said. “It’s a grant through the state library that was awarded to us. Some of the neighboring counties also got grants. We are lucky because we were ahead in the game. They were hit by some supply chain issues, but we avoided because we went to a local vendor — Performance Trailers on Ave. 17. They did a great job of outfitting the inside to make it look like a library and a nice graphic wrap on the outside.”


Riggs credits Mary Jo Lawrence as the key to receiving the grant.


“She did an amazing job. She made sure all the pieces were in place,” Riggs said.


Riggs hops that the van will help get people into the library throughout the county.


“We’re hoping to break down those barriers for people to come to the library,” she said. “We have areas in the county that are book deserts where it’s hard for people to get access to reading materials for all ages and pockets where it’s hard to connect to the internet. So much of the world is online.”