Summit County Library’s Bookmobile picking up speed
Program started engine in the 1970s
December 30, 2016
One of the Summit County Library's New Year's resolutions is to expose more people to its Bookmobile program, said program director Shaylee Phelps, the outreach services librarian.
She's been running the Bookmobile for a couple of months and is surprised at how many people don't know what it is.
"The Bookmobile is a traveling library," Phelps told The Park Record. "The purpose of the Bookmobile is to provide access to books and to give another outlet to the community to obtain books."
Phelps, who drives the Bookmobile, mostly visits schools.
"I also go to the senior centers [and] make community stops at city buildings," she said.
Additional stops include neighborhoods in Henefer, Wanship, Oakley, Francis and Woodland.
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"I have a handful of stops where I go to people's houses and take them books because they're disabled and can't get to a library," Phelps said. "It depends on the day, but usually the Bookmobile makes three or four stops in a day, Monday through Thursday."
The Summit County Bookmobile's history reaches back to the mid-1970s, where it partnered with Rich County and became the Summit/Rich Bookmobile.
In January of 2002 Summit County entered into an agreement with the State of Utah to take over the Summit/Rich Bookmobile Headquarters in Coalville, according to the Summit County Library website.
The Summit County and Rich County bookmobile services separated in 2002. Five years later, Utah sold the original Bookmobile to Summit County, before the county purchased a new Bookmobile in 2009.
Summit County artist Sarah Holden was commissioned to design the wrap for the bookmobile, Phelps said.
The Bookmobile usually carries up to 5,306 books at one time.
"The Bookmobile offers children's, young adult and adult books, in fiction and non-fiction," Phelps said. "Because of the limited space, the Bookmobile collection doesn't include audio books or movies."
Checking out books is easy.
"A person just needs a Summit County library card to come and check out materials from the Bookmobile," Phelps said. "[If they] don't have a library card, a photo ID and proof of residency is all that is needed to get a library card. This can be done on the Bookmobile."
Checking books in is easier.
"The best part is, because the Bookmobile is a branch of the Summit County Library, materials that are checked out from the Bookmobile can be returned to any of the Summit County Libraries," Phelps said. "In addition, materials checked out from any of the branches can be returned to the Bookmobile as well."
The length of times the Bookmobile spends at stops varies.
"Most of the stops I make are to schools, so it depends on the size of the school," Phelps said. "One of my stops is [at] Park City Day School Elementary and I'm there from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"I have two scheduled stops at North Summit Elementary [in Coalville] in order to serve everyone," she said. "At the smaller schools I'm only there for an hour."
Phelps spends an hour at most of the other community stops and senior centers.
During the summer, the Bookmobile can be found in local parks, where it hosts story times, and at the Park City Farmer's Market at Canyons.
"We have an agreement with Hideout to provide services in the summer since they don't have convenient access to the Wasatch County Library," Phelps said. "It seems like we are also visiting more schools in the Snyderville Basin than in the past."
Overall the Bookmobile currently serves 1,350 borrowers, and of them, 1,084 are students, Summit County Library Director Dan Compton said.
"We limit checkouts for students to one or two books at a time because the Bookmobile doesn't have an unlimited collection and we don't want to overwhelm their teachers," Compton said. "Because of this, I look at statistics differently on the Bookmobile than at our other branches. Instead of circulation numbers, I'm more interested in the number of students and people that we serve and the fact that they have access to information and books they otherwise might not have."
Compton said he wants to create lifelong learners as well as engaged and informed citizens.
"We try to reach them where they are if they can't make it to the brick and mortar libraries," he said. "It's an investment in our citizenry, and we want people to know that no matter where they choose to live they will have access to information.
"Children will have a higher chance of succeeding in school when they develop a love for reading early on," he said. "Parents won't be forced to buy their books or travel long distances to get them or pay membership fees to use other libraries."
The Bookmobile runs on an A-week, B-week schedule, Phelps said.
"This enables me to make stops on a bi-weekly basis," she said. "The Bookmobile schedule is posted at all of the branches and at each of the community stop locations.
It can also be accessed at any time on the library's website."
Summit County Bookmobile schedule for Jan. 3 to Jan. 5:
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Wednesday, Jan. 4
Thursday, Jan. 5
For more information about the Summit County Library Bookmobile program and schedule, visit http://www.thesummitcountylibrary.org.