Bookmobile Service Ends March 31
Feb 19, 2010 02:12:12 PM
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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