Shari Kazmierczak, of Rochester Hills, reads a story to her children Nora, 4, and Ben, 4, inside the library’s new community bookmobile during its stop at West Middle School May 10.

Shari Kazmierczak, of Rochester Hills, reads a story to her children Nora, 4, and Ben, 4, inside the library’s new community bookmobile during its stop at West Middle School May 10.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


New library bookmobile makes its debut

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 15, 2018

 The library’s new community bookmobile holds over 3,000 items that are available for checkout.

The library’s new community bookmobile holds over 3,000 items that are available for checkout.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Public Library is back on the road again with its new community bookmobile.

The library’s original vehicle — which was purchased in 2004 with funds from the Friends of the Library — has been off the road since January due to a faulty brake system.

“It was a one-of-a-kind vehicle, and the brakes went out on it and we were not able to replace them with anything else. The average life is 10-15 years. We got 12 out of our (original) bookmobile,” said Library Director Christine Lind-Hage.

Outreach and Bookmobile Services Manager Mary Davis said the community has greatly missed the bookmobile — which was only on the road four days this year before breaking down.

“Since we have been off the road, not a day goes by that we don’t get a call asking when we are going to be back. People have really missed the bookmobile and they are anxious for us to be out,” said Davis.

After learning that a new bookmobile would cost the library somewhere between $275,000 and $325,000, Lind-Hage said, her staff began to look for a more affordable option. In March, the library bought and refurbished a used bookmobile from Coschton, Ohio, for $14,500 that Lind-Hage said just needed a little cosmetic work.

“It’s not new. It has as many miles as our other one had, but it’s a little different style, so it’s sort of interesting to try a different brand out, because we will never get the one that we had because it was one of a kind. This is more traditional. It’s made by BlueBird buses, so hopefully it will be easier to maintain,” said Lind-Hage.

On May 9, the library hit the road with its new bookmobile, which operates Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays. The bookmobile holds over 3,000 popular items for children, teens and adults, including books, DVDs, music CDs, video games, graphic novels and much more. Each week, the bookmobile visits 24 different locations in the community.

“We have some stops that are extremely popular. We have one Tuesday evenings where during the summer, especially, we can see up to 80 people in an hour and a half,” said Davis.

“Our circulation is about 100,000 a year,” Lind-Hage added. “It gives a very small-town personal service, because normally 10-15 people can be on it at a time, space-wise. A lot of families come to it; especially in the summer, they will ride their bike to it.”

Although holds cannot be placed on bookmobile items, cardholders can request to have main library materials delivered to a bookmobile stop close to their home or work. They can also return any item checked out from the main library to the bookmobile staff.

“We are just excited to have the bookmobile back on the road,” Lind-Hage said.

Bookmobile staffing and materials are now worked into the library’s main budget.

For more information on the bookmobile’s schedule, visit www.rhpl.org/bookmobile or call (248) 650-7150.

The Rochester Hills Public Library’s main branch is located at 500 Olde Towne Road.