Monday, April 13, 2020

J V Brown Library - Celebrate the county’s Bookmobile during National Bookmobile Day

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – On July 10, 1939, Miss Frances Kilburn began driving the first Bookmobile on rural Lycoming County roads to bring library service to the people.

Since that time, a variety of vehicles have continued to travel throughout the county, bringing books, music, movies and more to the people in rural areas, schools and care facilities.

Wednesday, April 22, is National Bookmobile Day, a celebration of the more than 930 bookmobiles and dedicated bookmobile staff that provide vital library services to their communities. The occasion is an opportunity for Americans to express their support for these important mobile institutions.

For over 100 years, bookmobiles have delivered information, technology, and resources for lifelong learning to Americans of all walks of life. According to the most recent report from the Institute of Museum and National Library Services, less than 6 percent of libraries have Bookmobile services, with only 22 Bookmobiles in Pennsylvania. The Brown Library operates two of those with the Bookmobile and Storymobile, an early childhood vehicle that visits local childcare facilities.

Both vehicles are currently off the road due to COVID-19 concerns across the state, but earlier this year the library had started a Bookmobility campaign to transform mobile outreach services in Lycoming County.

Bookmobiles are a cost-effective means of providing library services to large geographic areas. Bookmobiles, like libraries, continue to meet the needs of their communities by offering free access to the latest technology and materials to users of all ages. The Lycoming County Library System’s Bookmobile visits a wide range of locations, including senior centers, low-income housing, personal care homes, private schools and more.

“The library’s outreach mission is to go where the people are, to establish deep connections with the people we serve, to bring life-changing stories and knowledge of the outside world to those with mobility and transportation issues, to foster the love of reading, and bring opportunities for lifelong learning to rural citizens and the people that need us the most,” said Barbara S. McGary, executive director of the Brown Library. “As we considered replacing the aging vehicle, we saw that our patrons would be better served by smaller, more efficient vehicles targeted to specific audiences.”

The library’s Bookmobility campaign will provide:
·         a newer, more efficient, and more reliable mobile library for rural citizens and others.
·         a van to bring books and other materials directly into senior care facilities.
·         and an additional Storymobile, to bring the library experience and age-appropriate materials to children in preschools, childcare facilities, and schools.
Donations may be made online at or by mailing a check to the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.

The James V. Brown Library is part of a national “Libraries Transform” effort to increase awareness of the changing role of libraries and the ways in which libraries are transforming to meet the information needs of their users. Libraries are community centers of information, technology and learning that will fuel educational and economic opportunity for all of our citizens.
The Office of Commonwealth Libraries has directed all PA libraries to close until further notice by order of the Governor. Due dates are extended until sometime after the library re-opens. The James V. Brown will announce new due dates at that time.

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