Today, January 29, the Natrona County Library debuted their new bookmobile, complete with a wheelchair lift for expanded access and an exterior design that is an homage to what makes the community so unique: the great outdoors. The new bookmobile will gradually resume mobile outreach services in February, with select stops at local daycares and preschools.
In the fall of 2019, the library secured funding from both Natrona County and the City of Casper through optional 1¢ funds to purchase a new, more reliable bookmobile to serve the community. In February 2020, after an extensive RFP process, the library signed on the dotted line with LDV Custom Specialty Vehicles to build a brand new bookmobile.
LDV crafted a vehicle that provides an enhanced user experience, with a specialty wheelchair lift to empower even more people to access the bus, and snap-out shelving that will also serve as removable book carts. With the lift, the bookmobile drivers can load and unload these carts, creating the ability to customize collections for certain audiences and provide lobby-stop services to better meet the needs of the community.
The new bookmobile was delivered to the library in late December 2020 after 10 months of build-out, and is set to hit the streets in early February. The new bookmobile replaces one that has served the community’s readers for 16 years. COVID-19 meant a temporary suspension in bookmobile services beginning last March, and it is with great excitement that the library slowly resumes their mobile outreach services with their shiny new ride.
In 2004, the Library purchased a bookmobile to replace the beloved Old Blue, a relic of the 80s. In 2013, the Library gave that bookmobile a facelift with a colorful new wrap, and this is the bookmobile that’s been driving around town and parked in front of daycares, nursing homes, and many other local organizations over the past several years. The library’s bookmobile is a vital part of its outreach services, taking materials to people who might not otherwise be able to come into the Library.
The library has been working directly with staff at many of their regular stops to ensure community safety as they resume these services.
“I’m eager to get back on the road and see the patrons on my route,” said Lee Tschetter, Natrona County Library’s bookmobile driver. “Keeping everyone healthy while providing access to materials is our primary goal right now, but I’m looking forward to expanding our bookmobile services even more once it is deemed safe to do so.”