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National Bookmobile Day: El Paso Public Library

2018 April 10
by Kyla Hunt

As we approach National Bookmobile Day on April 11, we are highlighting a few of the fantastic bookmobile programs throughout Texas. Today we are focusing on the El Paso Public Library!

El Paso BookmobileCould you provide a brief history of your library’s bookmobile program?

In 1937, the El Paso Public Library had a specially built cart dubbed the “rolling branch” or “rolling Library”, which served the patients in local hospitals. Twenty years later, 1957, we had our first Bookmobile, complete with air conditioning!

Throughout the years, the Bookmobile was replaced and more units were added, up to 5 at one time. In 1997, a new Bookmobile replaced the last of the five vehicles to retire.

Finally, our two newest Bookmobiles replaced the old one in El Paso Bookmobile2014. These are smaller units that allow for more accessibility and outreach, complete with WIFI, are ADA compliant, plus roll-away book carts and canopies. One unit is assigned to do regular Stops, while the second unit is made available to the community thru reservations for events and school visits.

How many books does your bookmobile circulate annually?

Back in 1937, it was about 3,800 annually. Just last year, it was over 24,000 books annually.

Did you obtain any grants to get your bookmobile program off the ground?

Through the years, several of the Bookmobiles were funded by grants. Thanks to the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, the newer buses were obtained.

In your experience, does the bookmobile appeal more to children? To the elderly? To everyone?

El Paso BookmobileWe do get a good amount of families who use the Bookmobile, but in my experience, it does seem to attract school age kids, followed by our senior population.

What feedback have you received from your community regarding your bookmobile?

Our residents have expressed their appreciation for this service. We have received many compliments as we’re still being discovered by new users, while older generations reminisce about their childhood when they used the first Bookmobiles. It’s such a personal bond, I feel as if we’re visiting friends and family, our patrons really look forward to our visits!

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