The East Lansing Public Library has a summer full of touring, thanks to the new Library on the Go, a smaller mobile version of their traditional bookmobile. Equipped with books, movies, and technology, the van is set to visit different parks, retirement centers, schools, farmers’ markets, and more this summer.
East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) Assistant Director Brice Bush spoke about how the vehicle helps expand the services offered by ELPL.
“We took ownership of the vehicle in October 2020,” Bush said. “The ‘Library on the Go’ van is a Ford Transit van that we’ve outfitted to work for our specific purposes of taking our library out and about in the community. We were able to purchase the Library on the Go van through fundraising efforts over the past several years.”
Reaching patrons and communities of all ages is important to the library. The library is able to provide several outreach services with the increased mobility the van provides and has visited Burcham Hills, The Willows of East Lansing, and Independence Village. For youngsters, there are plans to visit different daycare centers in the upcoming fall season, and visits to the East Lansing Public Schools’ summer schools, which is being held at two local elementary schools.
“They’ll be visiting the schools three times throughout the duration of the summer school program,” Bush said. “We’re happy to do outreach with our ELPS students and excited about that opportunity as well.”
“Currently, through our summer reading program, we are taking the Library on the Go to two different East Lansing parks every Monday. You’ll see the van at one park from 1-3 in the afternoon, and then we’ll be at a different park from 4-6 in the evening.”
The van will be at Valley Court Park for Sunday Farmers’ Market on July 25 and August 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other park stops include Abbot Road Park, Albert A. White Memorial Park, Bailey Park, Emerson Park, Harrison Meadows Park, Henry Fine Park, Hidden River Park, Patriarche Park, and Tamarisk Park, now through August.
The mobile library is also scheduled with regular stops in specific neighborhoods to increase community outreach by bringing books and movies and getting residents signed up for library cards to receive the many benefits that come with them.
Bush says the response to the mobile library has been very positive. “I was at the farmers’ market on Sunday, and we talked to all kinds of people that were there at the market. We talked to a lot of people who were really excited to see the library there. We issued library cards to a couple people, checked out items, sold a few used books to raise money for our Friends of the Library. The overall reaction of people is just really positive and they are excited to see the library having a presence in the community outside of our actual building on Abbot.”