The Pickaway County District Public Library will retire its 19-year-old bookmobile on Friday at the Westfall Back-To-School Mall.

A new bookmobile will be ready to roll in early September to provide reliable library service to Pickaway County residents of all ages within 10 miles of their homes.

The new bookmobile will be 33 feet long, 11.5 feet tall and carry about 3,000 items to community stops in Commercial Point, Derby, New Holland, Orient, South Bloomfield, Whistler and Williamsport. Items available for check out include books for all ages, music CDs and feature movies.

During the school year, the bookmobile stops at nine elementary schools, two middle schools, six day cares and 16 community stops, including senior housing. The new bookmobile will have an easy-to-operate wheelchair lift for accessibility.

Anyone with a Pickaway County Library card can check out items from the bookmobile, the Main Library in Circleville or the Floyd E. Younkin Branch in Ashville.

The bookmobile rolls along Pickaway County roads four days a week staffed by two library employees working 35-hours per week. Tamie Morgan has worked on the bookmobile for eight years. Brenda Dietrich has driven the bookmobile for four years.

The past few months have been especially challenging for the bookmobile staff and patrons as generator issues have caused major problems with interior lighting and cooling the vehicle.

“Our patrons have been so patient with the bookmobile, often looking for items using only natural light from outside the vehicle,” Dietrich said.

Morgan said, “These last two weeks of the summer have been tough because they’ve been hot, but we wanted to make sure the kids got their prizes from the Summer Reading Program.”

The new vehicle will sport a 10-kilowatt generator to keep the lights on, the heat and air-conditioning running and provide power for staff necessities such as computers, printers, a microwave and refrigerator. Welcome safety features on the new vehicle are outside cameras for backing up and checking for pedestrians. A second set of shelving for the vehicle offers the option of creating computer workspace in the vehicle for classes in the future.

The new bookmobile was created by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus with input from the library staff. Farber will assist the library with the sale of the retiring vehicle.

Funding for the new vehicle comes from the library’s Motor Vehicle Replacement Fund which the library board was able to put money into when state funding was very good in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, according to Jim Guenther, director.

“The library board is committed to providing mobile service throughout the county and set aside state funds when they were able for replacement vehicles,” he said.

Bookmobile service began in Pickaway County in February 1938 and was an immediate success. More than 1,100 new borrowers were registered and more than 1,400 books were circulated in the first six trips.

Please check the library’s Web site at www.pickawaylib.org or pick up a schedule from any library location.

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