By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Dec. 15, 2022) The return of a library bookmobile appears imminent after the Worcester County Commissioners approved a mobile services coordinator and assistant for the project during their meeting on Dec. 6.
According to Library Director Jennifer Ranck, the coordinator will not be a new position but a transferred one. That individual will be in charge of supporting and operating the vehicle, coordinating its schedules, maintenance of the highly fluid inventory and networking within the community.
The part-time assistant position will be filled via the already-vacant Library Service Assistant position.
“We wanted a bookmobile so we can make it easier for people who can’t easily visit their branch to take advantage of library services and resources,” Ranck said earlier this week. “We don’t have a schedule established yet but we envision visiting long-term care facilities, senior living facilities, hopefully, schools and head-start (programs). We want to bring materials to the people and attend special events, like everything from Touch-a-Truck Day to parades to local fairs, festivals and maybe even some farmer’s markets.”
While the bookmobile will give much attention to underserved communities, it will be accessible for the entire county, Ranck added.
“Our job is to reach everything in the community,” she said.
Ranck said the idea and motivation for the bookmobile came during the covid-19 pandemic lockdown when the library wasn’t able to reach certain populations. Through “some partnerships” with the Worcester County Arts Council, the library was able to bring programs and activities to places such as the Harrison House in Snow Hill.
“(Those partnerships) were some of our first realizations that there are people who can’t get to us,” she said.
The vehicle itself will be a Ford F350 pickup truck with each side of the vehicle able to open up. It’s currently being constructed in Stevensville.
Ranck pointed out that it wasn’t so much of a new service as it is a returning service — a similar vehicle operated in the county from the late 1960s to the middle of the 1980s.
“To my knowledge, Worcester will be the first system in Maryland to use this pop-up style vehicle,” Ranck said. “We are very excited about extending our services through the bookmobile and increasing access to books and technology beyond the library walls. We are grateful to the Maryland State Library Agency for awarding the library $100,000 (from an) ARPA grant through the Institute for Museum and Library Services.”
The library plans to introduce the bookmobile in 2023.