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Library on wheels

The Bookmobile is back on the road. After over a month in the repair shop getting a new engine, the Bookmobile is serving its patrons. It’s plain to see how much this mobile library service is loved by the people who wait for its arrival as they lamented over how much they missed it while it was off the road.

I had my first experience on the Bookmobile on Saturday. Not only has the Bookmobile been laid up, its primary driver and main back-up have also been sidelined due to surgery. When we got the call on Friday that the substitute driver was also sick, I knew that we couldn’t cancel the Saturday stop in Onamia. So I took a big gulp and volunteered to drive the behemoth to Onamia — as long as Jackie (who is 50% back) was able to come along with me to navigate.

So it was at 8:00 on Saturday morning that Jackie and I headed north. Jackie’s calm voice coaching me over those first few miles — “now turn when your wheels are here . . . watch the fish-eye mirrors” etc. made the trip relatively easy and we rolled along without incident. First stop was the gas station. I was so proud that we pulled up to the pump just the right distance from the nozzle. I filled the tank and got back on the road, and then Jackie said, “That was really good. ______ hit the gas pump.” (named former staff member to remain anonymous). Oh boy, now she tells me.

The first few miles west on 95, I admit I piled up a little bit of traffic behind me. 45 MPH seemed awfully fast, and frankly I decided that it didn’t hurt anyone to slow down a bit and enjoy the beautiful spring morning. Fairly soon the road was rolling by more quickly and we were up to traveling speed.

We arrived in Onamia on time. I informed Jackie that I didn’t intend to include backing the beast up as part of my first-day training, so if we weren’t able to pull straight up to the expected stopping point I would keep right on going and drive straight back to Cambridge. At that, Jackie broke into gales of laughter. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary, and we parked without incident. Good thing too, because people were waiting for us. I had to waive them back in order to swing the door open and bring the steps down.

For 2 and a half hours people came on the Bookmobile almost steady. At one point, there were so many people in the library that I feared that we’d soon have a line out the door. They good-naturedly jostled past each other, greeting their community friends with pleasure. People of all ages, they all checked out stacks of stuff. Some received items they’d requested from other libraries and were thrilled. When we told them that next weekend the Bookmobile was taking a rest for the Memorial Day weekend they all went back and found additional items to fill an extra week.

It hardly seemed possible when 12:00 came and it was time to pull in the steps and head for home. The drive back started out uneventfully until we came into a sudden shower. Jackie said “turn on the wipers.” I said “I can’t, I don’t know where they are.” (who knew in the earlier sunshine that we’d need them.) Jackie, still calm, said reach to the left and forward, and sure enough, there was the switch under my fingers and engaged without taking my eyes from the road.

What a good morning it was. If I had any doubts about the importance of our mobile service they are gone. Visit our Bookmobile — your library card is accepted there the same as at any bricks and mortar library.

Click for more photos from our Saturday Bookmobile adventure
Bookmobile in Onamia

Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director

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