This truck carries books rather than ice cream |

This truck carries books rather than ice cream

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

While kids learn early not to judge books by their covers, Summit County’s Bookmobile is another story.

The Summit County Public Art Advisory Board and the Summit County Public Library are urging artists to submit a design to wrap around he newly minted library on wheels, which is set to arrive in time for the county’s Fourth of July Parade.

The deadline is May 7 at 5 p.m. Artists must be 16 or older and should drop off sketches, a portfolio and resume to the Summit County Library’s branch at Kimball Junction or the county courthouse in Coalville. Designs should illustrate the uniqueness of Summit County and key into the library’s mission of lifelong reading and education, according to organizers.

The winner receives $3,400 and will work closely with graphic designers. The artwork will be writ large and span the van, which is 30 feet long, nearly 9 feet wide and 10 feet high.

The Bookmobile will travel to rural parts of the county that don’t have easy access to one of the county’s branch locations. Oakley, Woodland, Hoytsville, Wanship and Silver Creek were among the diesel’s bimonthly stops last year, and more stops are planned for 2009. Unlike its predecessor, the Bookmobile will be fitted with ramps for the elderly and people in wheelchairs and boast hundreds of texts in neat stacks. The new vehicle, currently being built in Columbus, Ohio, will have high-speed Internet, power steering and an automatic transmission, among other amenities conspicuously absent in the county’s old clunker. "Everyone was afraid to drive the old one," which is still parked outside the Kimball Junction library, said Dennis Lyon, the chairman of the board for the library.

Diana Remington said she hopes the van will reach underserved readers, such as Latinos, young children and the elderly. "I hope they have as much enthusiasm for the Bookmobile as they do for the ice cream truck," she said, laughing.

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During the school year, the Bookmobile will travel to middle schools in northern and southern parts of the county and make frequent stops at the Colby School.

The county has also requested designs from commercial art firms, but they pledged to give locals a fair shot.

A pre-proposal conference will be held Monday, April 20, at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richins building, 6506 N. Landmark Dr. at Kimball Junction. At the meeting, organizers will discuss the specifications of the project. "Artists have some of the most quirky minds," said spokeswoman Lola Beatlebrox. "We want to give artists a chance to express what Summit County and the Bookmobile are all about."

Organizers plan to announce semifinalists Wednesday, May 13. The winning design will be announced the May 15. The Friends of the Summit County Library donated nearly $2,000 to fund the prize for artists and the county appropriated about $200,000 for the new vehicle.

The library is searching for a librarian to man the vehicle, which doesn’t require a commercial driver’s license to operate.

Summit County has fielded a Bookmobile for more than 10 years, Remington said, and the county has been in charge of the program for about half that time.