Franklin County’s bookmobile provides resources to residents with lack of access to transportation


ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WFXR) – Bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services are continuing to be a central part of public libraries around the country, serving communities in both rural and suburban areas. Many residents in Franklin County are taking advantage of those programs because many of them have no way of getting to their local library.

“I have worked in libraries for twenty-five years. This is the first library I worked at that’s had a bookmobile and it was very cool to be able to work at a place where the outreach is in this tangible form,” says Alison Barry, Director at the Franklin County Public Library.

Franklin County has yet to establish a public transportation system for their residents, some who happen to be elderly, impoverished, and disabled. For over 70 years, Franklin County Public Library’s bookmobile service has provided an opportunity for people to check out resources and get information that’s not easily accessible to them.

The bookmobile service was introduced to the county in 1946. The state of Virginia supplied them with a vehicle along with a collection of books. The school superintendent at the time realized that the one and two-room schools throughout the county, which had no libraries, could utilize the service, and bookmobile has been operating ever since.

For two weeks a month, the bookmobile’s frequent stops include schools, daycares, apartments, and senior centers. They also host a variety of programs throughout the summer.

“They do the ‘Bookyard’ parties, where they went to different apartment complexes over the summer and people were able to check out books and do crafts. It was a very positive experience for everyone,” says Barry.

Inside look of Franklin County Public Library’s Bookmobile

The vehicle is equipped with resources like books for all ages, laptops, movies, magazines, and even Wifi. The service contains the same library system as its main branch in Rocky Mount, so people simply have to bring their library card in order to check-out their items.

Barry says the drivers make sure they cover every corner of the over 700-mile county so that everyone can have the opportunity to access their resources. Although the Franklin County Public Library has no plans to get a second vehicle just yet, organizers are fortunate to have the opportunity to have a bookmobile and get the library out to the public.

“It really has developed into something terrific. I think that the rest of the community realizes how important it is to actually get this service out to the community,” says Barry.

For the Bookmobile’s full summer schedule, click here.

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