One of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s busiest libraries doesn’t have a fixed location.
It travels to communities throughout the region that do not have physical public libraries, offering books to residents on wheels.
“Our Bookmobile is our third-highest circulating library,” TNRD chief librarian Judy Moore said.
After 17 years, the 35-foot diesel Blue Bird bus, which has been serving rural communities, has been parked and is up for auction. It travels as far as Vavenby, Green Lake Provincial Park, Loon Lake, Whitecroft and Westwold, but also spends time in Westsyde.
With about 400,000 kilometres under its belt, the vehicle needs some work, but still runs. The single-axel bus has a recently rebuilt transmission and a generator and is outfitted with maple shelving.
If we think about the tiny home trend — how that meets public library service — well, we’ve got it,” Moore said.
A new Bookmobile is being outfitted in Surrey. The capital project cost approximately $500,000 and was paid for through the TNRD’s public library service reserve fund. It will include additional stops when it hits the road sometime before mid-May.
“We’ve reviewed our schedule of Bookmobile stops and, certainly, within the last 10 years, there have been many changes for demographics in the area and population growth,” Moore said, noting demand for the service has increased.
New urban and rural routes will be added in Quilchena, the Lower Nicola, Lac Le Jeune and Thompson River Estates. There will also be four new stops in Kamloops: Tournament Capital Centre, B.C. Wildlife Park, Sahali Mall and Juniper Ridge.
The new Bookmobile will be larger and fully accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
In 2017, the Bookmobile lent more than 35,000 items from a collection size of more than 8,800. On average, it is open for 12.5 hours per week and staffed for 70 hours.
Those wishing to bid on the retired Bookmobile must submit via a sealed envelope. The auction is open until Tuesday, April, 17 at 4 p.m., with a minimum bid of $7,500. Money raised will be used for a graphic wrap around the new Bookmobile.
For more information, go online to tnrl.ca.