Bookmobile News

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Maria Carillo Students Come Up Big for the Bookmobile
Written by admin, October 22nd, 2009   

Our friend Catherine Borchert has many gifts to offer (see 9/1 entry below). One of her strengths is inspiring excitement about an idea, and she did just that when she approached students in Lorraine Martinez-Ohlsen’s Leadership Class at Marilla Carillo High School about boosting the Bookmobile. These enterprising teens took on a monster of a book drive, relentlessly pitching the need for donations to family, friends, and fellow students. And they came up big: 1,398 books of very high quality collected. That’s half again as much as we’ve given away in total!

Meeting this group was a special event. They were very curious about where their books were headed, so I drove the trailer right onto the quad so they could hop in and load it up themselves. They had great questions; some had never heard of a bookmobile before embarking on the project. Does that make me feel old? Nah, just lucky. And a little sad that the county hasn’t funded this service for well over a decade.

Please read the article and check out the pictures on the Press Democrat website:

http://extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/11090/carrillo-students-support-bookmobile/


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Checking in with the Statistics
Written by admin, October 19th, 2009   

I’ve ranted enough about how much fun this project has been – time to take a look at what the numbers say. We’ve hosted a total of 16 events thus far since our inaugural stop in Occidental back in late July. During those 16 events, we have:

• Visited 12 different towns (though I suspect Santa Rosa may have achieved ‘city’ status a while back)

• Served 193 children, including 60 who are ages 0 – 5

• Served 531 adults, including 184 who are ages 55 and up

• Given away 1,254 children’s books

• Given away 1,554 books for adult readers

• Told lots of total strangers that we love them

As you can see, adults are taking an average of about three books each (we don’t impose a limit), and kids are helping themselves to about six books each. Though the kid’s book average is a bit misleading because some adults take kids books too. I’m not sure what the numbers really mean except that we are having a ton of fun. Oh wait, we already knew that. Perhaps we should be measuring smiles per hour?

The grand totals are: 2,808 books given away to 724 people. And we’re just getting started! Hey, anyone have a waterproof cargo bin we can use for the winter?

Stay tuned…


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Good Times at the Book Festival…
Written by admin, October 15th, 2009   

…and a gorgeous day for sharing love of reading. Aficianados of the printed word descended on Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa on September 19th to browse and chat and celebrate one of our deepest common bonds. Thanks to the good folks of the organizing committee, the Free Bookmobile was there.

This was a unique event for us for a few reasons. First: We stood to gain a significant amount of awareness for our mission. Though several individuals approached to say they’d seen our story in the newspaper, or had actually been to one of our previous giveaways, most were new to the concept. Continuing to spread the good word is crucial to our success given that we rely solely on donations to replenish our stock of books. Thanks to these generous souls, we experienced a nice surge in deliveries to our drop-off locations after the Fair.

Second: We had a new friend joining us to create custom bookmarks for our guests. Rita Planchon performed her dazzling calligraphy for young and old alike, scribing names on a choice of two designs we printed specially for the occasion. Rita had a line at her table virtually the entire day as word spread around the square. The success of the free bookmarks helped me realize that it would be much more fun to promote the project in this fashion instead of with business cards.

Third: This was not a target area. Of course the Book Fair drew throngs of people from all over the county (and beyond) but let’s face it – we we’re only a few blocks from the excellent downtown Santa Rosa library. Our primary mission is to reach folks in rural areas or those with mobility challenges, and this didn’t quite fit that bill. Fortunately we aren’t much for discrimination and the opportunity to reach so many book lovers was too good to pass up.

As well we anticipated making lots of new friends, which naturally came to pass. Some of them even invited us to come visit their schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods, schools that lack libraries. One fellow told me that the Bookmobile was a good start, and urged me to take it to the next level by throwing televisions off of rooftops, “like the mullahs do in Saudi Arabia”.

I love making new friends.


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