This Wednesday, April 16, is National Bookmobile Day. Each year, on the Wednesday of National Library Week, the library community and the communities we serve celebrate the contributions of bookmobiles and the library personnel dedicated to providing outreach through library bookmobile service.
North Dakota has eleven bookmobiles in service, covering 26,210 (38%) of the state’s 69,000 square miles of land area:
- Bismarck Public Library – serving Burleigh County (1663 square miles)
- Bottineau County Library – serving Bottineau County (1668 square miles)
- Dickinson Area Public Library – serving the city of Dickinson and Stark, Slope and Billings Counties (3699 square miles)
- James River Valley Library System – serving Jamestown and Stutsman County (2222 square miles)
- McKenzie County Public Library – serving McKenzie County (2760 square miles)
- McLean-Mercer Regional Library – serving McLean and Mercer Counties (3154 square miles)
- Morton Mandan Public Library – serving Mandan and Morton County (1926 square miles)
- Sioux County Public Library – serving Sioux County (1094 square miles)
- South Central Area Public Library – serving Lamoure and Logan Counties (2139 square miles)
- Ward County Public Library – serving Ward and Mountrail Counties (3838 square miles)
- Williston Community Library – serving the city of Williston and Williams County (2077 square miles)
In a highly rural state like North Dakota, bookmobiles play an invaluable role in providing library service to citizens who reside outside of the cities and towns where their main public library is located. Through bookmobile services, residents of very small towns and rural locations are afforded the convenience of the library coming to them. Circumstances such as lack of transportation and our inclement winter weather and accompanying poor travel conditions can make it difficult for a large number of rural residents to reach their public libraries. Bookmobile outreach bridges the geographic and socioeconomic gaps that may otherwise keep people from experiencing the wonderful collections and services their local libraries provide.
With our state’s fantastic bookmobile services come a number of wonderful bookmobile outreach professionals, who are dedicated to spreading the reach of the library and bringing a personal level of service to the rural communities and areas they visit. Bookmobile librarians take the time to get to know their patrons personally, and develop lasting relationships that bond rural citizens to their library, even though they might never set foot within the physical library building.
Take some time this National Library Week and National Bookmobile Day to thank your local bookmobile librarian, and show your support for the unique, valuable services they provide across our state.