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Check it Out: Bookmobiles important tool for outreach

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 7, is National Library Outreach 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.

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 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.

— For your safety, all returned materials are quarantined for three days.

The James V. Brown Library is open for browsing and holds pick up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. To place a hold, visit www.jvbrown.edu or call 570-326-0536 during the library’s operating hours. The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, Pa., is the place to go to learn, connect and grow. Founded in June 1907, the library champions the love of reading, opens new doors to lifelong learning, provides a haven to those who seek and ensures the preservation of public library services for future generations. The library has more than 225,000 visitors in a year and circulates a half-million items annually. A member of the Lycoming County Library System, the James V. Brown Library participates in PA Forward, a statewide initiative to promote literacies in our communities to power a better future for everyone.

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