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Free Bookmobile Discontinues Service After 11 Years of Literacy Outreach
Written by admin, June 8th, 2020   

As COVID-19 virus control measures appear to be a part of our lives for the next 12 months or more, we have concluded that our service model is untenable. Continuing with in-vehicle browsing would mean providing new gloves to everyone, policing masks and wipe-downs, and only letting one or two people inside the bookmobile at a time. It doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone and would drastically reduce the number of people we could serve each day. Outside browsing also presents problems with book-handling management, as well as increased labor and decreased selection.
There are other ways to distribute books (to children, in particular), but after some analysis, appear to be much lower impact than what we were doing. The magic of the Free Bookmobile was in the experience, which uniquely stimulated people’s interest and made the books inside more special, plus the freedom of choice, which meant the books would actually be read later! We’re just not interested in pushing random ‘age appropriate’ material at kids via pre-assembled book bags or other giveaways. Some of our staff are also facing personal challenges, so we have decided to wrap things up.
Many people donated generously last year toward our new bookmobile construction. Please be assured that we will be taking our time to make sure that vehicle is passed along to a reputable Sonoma County program that will make appropriate use of it for charitable literacy purposes, or as close as possible to that. We may need to put it in storage and wait until life returns to something like normal before we feel confident in making that gift. Suggestions are welcome regarding potential recipient organizations.
We plan to maintain our non-profit status for a while in order to be a resource for other groups or individuals who might like to promote literacy and love of reading. A FREE BOOKMOBILE START-UP GUIDE will soon be available for download in hopes that folks all over the country (or world!), especially those in service groups like Kiwanis and Rotary, will take a look and see how simple it is to launch a worthwhile book-sharing project.
Our service to Sonoma County has been the honor of a lifetime and meant so much to everyone involved. We’ll always treasure the relationships we made, and want to thank our many patrons and supporters for their cheerful participation. Until we meet again, keep reading books made from paper!

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