MIAMI COUNTY — Despite numerous breakdowns of its 2011 bookmobile, the Troy-Miami County Library outreach librarians and staff are still putting books into the hands of readers.
The library’s director Rachelle Miller recently announced the bookmobile will be off the road indefinitely and the library is currently searching for an alternative vehicle to help serve neighborhoods, preschools and its rural patrons.
Miller said the library’s bookmobile has had numerous problems since its purchase in 2011. With help from local grants, the library paid $150,000 for a demo model from the Farber Specialty Vehicle of Columbus. The 2011 model featured low floors and a wide entrance door for improved accessibility to replace the 1994 bookmobile.
The bookmobile’s latest repair bill — $17,000 to fix its differential drive — has suspended service while the library seeks legal advice on how to proceed from the county’s prosecutor’s office.
“We are consulting with the prosecutor’s office regarding potential legal claims,” Miller said.
Due to the unique and custom design of the vehicle, parts are not readily available for repairs, she explained. The library spent approximately $5,000 in repairs of the vehicle last year. Last year, the bookmobile was off road for six weeks for custom repairs during its summer reading program.
The bookmobile has approximately 30,000 miles logged during its four years on the road and is now past its three year warranty period.
At this time, Miller said the library is exploring its options to either repair the bookmobile or seek alternative vehicles to help shuttle books throughout the community.
Using their own personal vehicles, Outreach Services Manager Sarah Simon, along with Julia Karnehm, are continuing to round up plastic tubs full of books — along with the bookmobile’s famous cat Dewey — to visit the county’s preschool children.
Simon shared that recently at a preschool one student remarked “This isn’t the same,” in spite of Simon, Karnehm and Dewey the Cat’s best efforts to recreate the fun the bookmobile brings to their school day.
“We are still giving them the stamps and we are still taking Dewey. At other places we are taking collections of books and dropping them off and swapping out the old ones. We are still doing some home deliveries, too,” Simon said.
Staff has contacted its neighborhood stops and are continuing its home deliveries, preschool stops and other outreach while the bookmobile is out of commission.
For questions regarding the library’s outreach services, call 339-0502, Ext. 114, or visit www.tmcpl.org
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews