The new bookmobile embarked on its maiden voyage April 16, which happened to be National Bookmobile Day.
Its first patrons were the children of Ms. JoNi’s “Shining Stars” Daycare. Each one checked out a book.
“And what are you guys going to do when you’re done with these books?” library director Maureen Dorosinski said to the children. “You’re going to come back and you’re going to get more books, and you’re going to keep getting more books and having more fun reading, and it’s just going to be awesome.”
The previous bookmobile broke down several months ago, and the library system started fundraising for a replacement.
A design contest drew 168 entries, and the new bookmobile’s look incorporates elements from the entries of two winners—Aidan Huff, a sixth grader from Caroline Middle School, and Aaron Reames, who works at the Dawn Library branch.
Aidan contributed a motto, which is printed on the side of the bookmobile: “Everybody reads. Do you?”
“It’s like Nike’s ‘Just do it.’ He’s a little tiny marketing genius,” Dorosinski said.
Longtime bookmobile driver Sandy Coleman has returned to the wheel.
Coleman has driven the bookmobile for nearly 12 years, and she’s been a Caroline County Public Schools bus driver for 32 years.
“I love children coming in and getting their books and putting a happy smile on them,” Coleman said. “These children are my heart.”
Dorosinski said Coleman had “been heartbroken for months” without the bookmobile.
Coleman thanked everyone who participated in the fundraising. “They don’t know how much it means to me,” she said.
Fundraisers included book sales, a bake sale, a craft sale, and more, and local businesses helped out.
A group of county employees volunteered to build the shelves inside the vehicle. County building official Kevin Wightman, the Sheriff’s Office’s Scott Moser and Chris Hall, and the Department of Fire and Rescue’s Tim Hahn gutted out the old bookmobile and assembled the pieces for the new one.
Bookmobile shelves differ slightly from those of conventional libraries, as they have a crossbar to prevent the books from spilling out in transit.
But the books still topple another way as children rifle through the collection.
“When we parked, most of these were upright. And now you see they’re all laying down flat, because all of these small hands were pulling and trying to look at all the covers. … That is exciting to see,” Dorosinski said.
The bookmobile isn’t just for children. Adult titles are on board, including some paperbacks that can be taken out on the “honor system” without a library card.
“We want people to read. We will give you paperback books to read,” Dorosinski said. “We are literally passing books out in the street.”
Dorosinski hopes to expand the bookmobile’s schedule with new stops at places where adults and/or children congregate.
One of her first initiatives when she joined Caroline Library, Inc., last July was to clean up the old bookmobile. The system got 500 new books onboard, and then the vehicle started misbehaving.
“It had gone through a lot, but this should have us all set up for quite a long time,” Dorosinski said. “New books. New bookmobile.”