Friday, July 1, 2011

Metro Times: Detroit Public Library's Bookmobile

This is an interesting local story about the origins, mission and impact of the Detroit Public Library's Bookmobile in the community. It shows how public libraries are increasing access to literacy and expanding democracy, particularly in marginalized neighborhoods.

The DPL has operated its bookmobile since 1940. The program is based at the Douglass Branch for Specialized Services on Grand River near Trumbull, which also houses several other programs, like the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Two bookmobiles make the rounds. Each one, a newer-model mini-bus with shelves instead of seats, can hold thousands of books. One is full of children's material and makes stops at public schools in Detroit where the libraries have been closed or aren't staffed by a librarian anymore, rendering them closed anyway.

The other is stocked with genres such as mystery, romance, biography and modern novels. It visits far-flung homes, densely packed senior apartment complexes, and riverfront retirement communities, serving adults who can't make their way to a library on their own. New patrons come by word-of-mouth, or by postings on bulletin boards in recreation centers and retirement homes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this story and I think it has serious implication for our society. While I think access human services bridge an important gap for people reaching self-suffiency the pleasure and wisdom gleaned from a book is unmatched. We need more knowledge holders: public libraries and universities going out to the community and recruiting readers. They are there. Even the people who say they don't like to read, like reading something even if its a magazine!