How to Start Your Own Bookmobile by lfsmj2010


									How to Start Your Own Bookmobile
Many rural counties and school districts that don¡¯t have libraries
operate bookmobiles in order to provide library services to people in the
community. If your community has no library or bookmobile, you can start
your own. It is a huge undertaking for one person, so try to enlist the
help of neighbors and friends.
1Apply for a federal education grant. You can also apply to the Institute
of Museum and Library Services for a grant to fund your bookmobile
2Look for book suppliers:Contact nearby schools and libraries and ask
them if they will donate books for your bookmobile. Perhaps a library
would be willing to set up a donation box so that their patrons could
contribute books for the bookmobile.
Ask publishers if they would be willing to donate books to your
Reach out to the community for donations. Ask local organizations, such
as the Lion¡¯s Club or the Rotary Club, if they would co-sponsor a book
drive. Ask local residents and businesses to donate books to the
bookmobile program.
Purchase used books at tag sales, thrift stores and flea markets.

3Find a vehicle. You will need a bus or van large enough to hold shelves
of books, and there has to be enough room inside the vehicle for readers
to be able to access the books. Visit local car dealerships and ask if
they are willing to donate a van or bus for your cause.Look online for
car auctions and see if there are any listings for a vehicle large enough
to serve as a bookmobile.
Post flyers at local stores and ask for volunteers to help retrofit your
van or bus with bookshelves.

4Create a checkout policy before you hit the road. If your bookmobile
will be serving a small population, you can get by with the same type of
manual checkout system libraries used before computers were
invented:Purchase library book pocket cards and index cards, or make your
Use a separate index card for each book in your inventory. Write the name
of the book, the author, and for ease in shelving, the Dewey Decimal
Glue a pocket envelope onto the fly page of each book and insert the
book¡¯s index card into the pocket.
Purchase a small filing cabinet or file drawer so that you can store the
cards for books that are checked out.
Consider buying a small date stamp and stamp pad for stamping the book
cards with the return due date. You can also write the date on the card
when the book is checked out, but a date stamp is far more convenient.
Print library membership cards. You can arrange to have the cards
preprinted with the name of your bookmobile, contact information and a
schedule. (If you haven¡¯t decided on a set schedule, print a contact
number on the cards, and ¡°Call for schedule.¡±) You can also buy heavy
duty card stock and make the membership cards yourself, either using your
computer or manually.
Consider purchasing tracking guns and software. Ask vendors if they will
donate the technology you need for your program.
5Scout around for suitable locations where you can park the bookmobile.
Ideally, each stop will be in a place that is accessible to as many
people as possible. See if you can arrange for stops at municipal or
county buildings, grocery stores, nursing homes or other local
6Promote the bookmobile. Work with local business and ask if you can post
flyers about the bookmobile program. Include information on the flyer
about where and when the bookmobile will be stopping.<

Select reading material that has broad appeal. Include audio books, large
print books and a balanced selection of fiction and nonfiction. Conduct a
survey beforehand to get an idea of the ages and interests of people in
the community. Ask potential bookmobile users for suggested titles and
Contact local gas stations and ask if you can get a discount on gasoline.
Most vans get poor gas mileage, and a discount will help defray the
transportation costs.

Check with the motor vehicle department and your local government
jurisdiction to find out if you need a special license, permit or
additional insurance coverage in order to operate a bookmobile.
Keep careful track of all start-up expenses as well as ongoing expenses.

Things You¡¯ll Need
Large vehicle retrofitted to hold shelves and books
Books and other reading materials
Library book pockets and index cards
Filing cabinets
Membership cards

Sources and Citations
Apply for a library grant to fund your bookmobile
Apply for a federal education grant
Read about the first bookmobile
Look for library pockets and index cards

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