Story by Jack McFarland | Photography by Meredith Niemann | Art by Leo Rolfert
Lakota Local school district has recently partnered with Midpointe Library’s mobile library program, which stops at the Lakota elementary schools at least once a month and allows students to be able to have a totally different library experience. Matt Miller, Lakota’s Superintendent, believes this is a beneficial way for kids to investigate new reading material.
According to Miller, the partnership came about when Midpointe Library mentioned the startup of the program to community and parent engagement coordinator Angie Brown, who really liked the program because the mobile library will still be able to serve students throughout the summer even after the school district is closed. This will allow students to expand their reading.
Miller believes this program is “good, especially for younger kids to have access to reading materials that they both have and might not have on a regular rotating basis.”
“I’ve seen other districts do that,” Miller said. “I think this is something we could partner with some of our local businesses to have a STEAM lab on wheels for our younger kids.”
The original purpose behind the book mobile is to bring community members the materials and services that a public library might offer to areas of the community that may not have a physical branch nearby. This would allow community members who may not be able to use a library through traditional means to be able to have the library experience. The book mobile also offers a variety of other services which range from teacher collection services to deposit collections.
Library on wheels librarian Jenn Effinger. Effinger creates a very fun environment for the students who come aboard the mobile library.
“We’re very punny around here,” Effinger said. “That’s what we do, that’s why I’m wearing a cat laser shirt.”
Effinger also believes this is a very beneficial program for the kids, “We have been able to reach 700 children or more per school.”
She also says this allows students to have direct access to the resources of a public library.
“[This allows students] to be able to advance their literacy,” Effinger said. “Which is phenomenal. I have to remind [the students] that this is a library and not a bounce house because they come in so thrilled.”
Effinger also says that this allows students to learn the proper library etiquette when they are on board.
The mobile library has a circulation of over 1000 books a day. They have 1000 leaving and 1000 coming back on the truck at the same time. Effinger will tailor the displays on the bus to the specific age groups of the kids so that way they don’t accidentally pull the wrong book off the shelf that would not be age appropriate. The library on wheels also allows students to access digital media in addition to the physical books they can access.
The mobile library is equipped with Wi-Fi in order to allow kids to be able to use internet research, just like they have at one of their branches. Students are also able to sign up for the library card directly on the bus which they would be able to use at any Midpointe Library location. The mobile library staff also offers a classroom card to the schools which would allow for a greater number of books to be checked out.
Effinger also mentioned that Midpointe is going to be building a library inside Liberty Center to give more East side students and community members closer access to a public library.
“We want to make sure it’s going to be the most beneficial for everybody,” Effinger said “However, the classroom cards do not allow access to the digital media that is able to be accessed with the regular library card.”