Now, for an update on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding Raleigh County (West Virginia) Public Library in Beckley was awarded through the Rural Development Community Facilities program to obtain a new bookmobile. I had yet another opportunity to interview Gary Knapp, Bookmobile Driver and Librarian at the Raleigh County Public Library, in regards to this project.
I asked Mr. Knapp if they will continue to use the two current and much older bookmobiles once the new one arrives and is operational. Per Mr. Knapp, it is intended that they will not. They are hoping to sell one and keep one in operation. In addition, they are then hoping to secure funding to buy one more new bookmobile this upcoming year and sell the other one also, leaving them with two new bookmobiles.
Next, I spoke with Mr. Knapp about the bookmobiles’ schedules. The bookmobiles go to every elementary school in Raleigh County every three weeks; they also go to day care schools, private schools, senior citizens’ homes, the Moose Lodge 1606, apartment housing, and private neighborhood stops.
“In the summer, our job is still not over. We go to eight to ten summer school programs along with apartment, neighborhood and summer camp stops,” Knapp explained. “So, as you can see, the bookmobiles are going non-stop year round.”
You might ask, How does the library get the word out to the public of this bookmobile service being available? As Mr. Knapp stressed, the first traveling bookmobile in this area started in 1936. “Yes…1936,” he emphasized. “So, all of our community is endeared to its services.” Word-of-mouth and the “Friends of the Library” newsletter also serve as advertising for the bookmobiles’ services and schedules.
When I asked Mr. Knapp about the benefits of this bookmobile when it comes to children reading more, he stated: “The bookmobile will improve the kids’ reading because they will have access to 3500 books on a variety of materials and a wide range of subjects.”
When I last reported on this project, the bookmobile was expected to arrive in April, 2010. As it looks right now, that bookmobile may not arrive until mid- to late May, 2010. But, it is definitely on its way!
Again, we’ll be following up with Mr. Knapp periodically in order to keep you updated on the progress of this important funding venture for rural West Virginia.
Reporting for and on behalf of West Virginia USDA Rural Development, this is Mikhaila Missimer signing off for now.
Written by Student Reporter Mikhaila Missimer