Bookmobile Service Ends March 31

Feb 19, 2010 02:12:12 PM

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Kalamazoo, MI –

Kalamazoo Public Library’s bookmobile will retire after more than 50 years of service on March 31, 2010. A farewell celebration will be held during the bookmobile’s final week on the road. Details will be announced later.

In October 2009, KPL’s board of trustees decided to end bookmobile service no later than the end of the current fiscal year, June 30—the final date to be set after bookmobile staff could be reassigned elsewhere in the library. Staff retirements and resignations have now made that possible. All current bookmobile staff will continue to work in other areas of the library.

Bookmobile service started late in 1956 as a way to reach residents in growing suburban areas, at a time when many households had just one car, KPL’s neighborhood services were far less developed, and the downtown library was outgrowing its original 1893 building.

The world has changed since then! About 600 of the library’s 45,000 patrons checked out a total of 26,459 items from the bookmobile last year—less than 3% of the library’s total circulation. In contrast, 375,088 unique visitors accessed 21,134 pages on KPL’s website 2,117,508 times. KPL’s website has truly become a very busy virtual branch.

In these challenging economic times, the library is cutting costs to meet declining revenue. In the last two years, KPL has reduced energy use; delayed equipment purchases; trimmed funds for materials; dropped positions and reassigned work following retirements and resignations. Those measures are no longer enough—now we have to weigh the cost and effectiveness of all library services in terms of the entire community’s needs.

Sadly, KPL can no longer afford to offer bookmobile service. Fortunately, many bookmobile patrons already use other KPL locations. A small number of current bookmobile users cannot travel elsewhere. Staff members will seek to meet those patrons’ needs through existing services, like Via Mail (books-by-mail) and deposit collections.

The library director’s complete report and recommendation to the board is available online, www.kpl.gov/bookmobile.

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Comments

So sad to hear this,but with melcat system hopefully everyone can get all the wonderful books that are out there.Thank you Kalamazoo Library for you services throughout the years.In the future lets hope that the economic times will improve and there will be new programs and lots more financial support.
The Bookmobile is a wonderful memory. Living outside of the city,my preschooler and I loved our library on wheels, bringing us books to read and enjoy. thank you for the great memories and the love of reading. books are our dear friends.
Sadly, we bid the Bookmobile and its staff farewell. Those of us utilizing the services will miss seeing the Bookmobile arrive,perusing the wonderful choices aboard and making our selections. The staff aboard has always, without fail, been pleasant and accommodating in every way - thanks to their dedication, we send our gratitude and best wishes!!
My mother, Eleanor Whitman, was librarian on the Bookmobile during the 1960's. At age 14 I became a "page" for the Bookmobile Dept. During my college years I worked as a "student assistant" at the check out desk and as switchboard operator. After graduating from WMU in elementary education, I completed a master's degree in library science and became an elementary and high school librarian for 30 years in Kalamazoo Public Schools. In June of 2007 I retired and in May 2007 I was elected trustee to the Kalamazoo Public Library Board. I too am sad to see the Bookmobile service dropped, but times are changing and budgets are tight---so, farewell Bookmobile, you served the patrons of KPL well all these years! Cheryl TenBrink, trustee KPL Board
The Parkview community will miss Bookmobile very much. Its staff always delivers something more than books, it is a joy of communication. You did a wonderful job, and it will not be the same without Bookmobile. Thank you for your wonderful job.
Unfortunately, the only people this will really hurt are the people who need it most - those that have no other access to the local library.
It's sad to heard this situation,Hope you will recover in this financial crisis for to continue your bookmobile service.