Bookmobile reaches readers of all ages

By Amanda Dodson - adodson@thestokesnews.com
Stokes County operates one of only 24 bookmobiles left in the state. - Amanda Dodson | The Stokes News
The bookmobile service is a long running tradition in Stokes County and dates back to 1947 where it began as a converted bread truck. In the late 1980s a new, short wheel base Chevrolet van was purchased. - Courtesy photo
Jeannie Wall recently replaced Ronda Wilkins, who faithfully drove the bookmobile for 22 years before passing away in August. - Amanda Dodson | The Stokes News

Throughout the state there are 82 library systems, accounting for more than 400 libraries and Stokes County is one of 24 locations in the state to offer a bookmobile.

The beloved van travels to retirement homes, day cares and homes of individuals who are unable to drive to the library themselves, delivering books and magazines right to their door.

“It’s more than just a book, it’s a connection,” said Lisa Lawless, the Branch Librarian at the Danbury Public Library. “A lot of people are using eBooks, but many don’t have access to that, especially up this way.”

Lawless said with every bookmobile trip, there’s a story.

“Someone will say they haven’t seen a person in days or someone will want to tell you what’s going on in their life. That’s part of what makes the bookmobile so special.”

The Northwestern Regional Library (NWRL) system includes thirteen member libraries in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties of North Carolina. Stokes is the only county in the NWRL to still incorporate a bookmobile.

“Surry and Yadkin used to have them, but they did away with it. If you’re a mom, and you have little kids, and it’s difficult to strap everyone in to drive, we’ll come to you. If you’re a new mom and can’t get out of the house, we’ll come to you. Anyone in the county that would like to use it, it’s a free service and we want to continue to make sure it’s utilized.”

Local libraries are currently using NC Cardinal, a platform which gives access to more than 100 libraries statewide, and the ability to borrow materials that previously were nearly impossible to get. This includes books, DVD’s, and audio books in the NC system that can be shipped and delivered at no charge.

Jeannie Wall recently replaced Ronda Wilkins, who faithfully drove the bookmobile for 22 years before passing away in August.

“I’d known Ronda my whole life and we’d even spoken about me doing this before she died. It means a lot to me to be able to continue what she did in the county for so long,” Wall said.

In the last two months on the route, Wall has met people of all ages and said it’s been encouraging to find others with a passion for reading.

“We’re building our selections and offering large prints, videos, CD’s. There’s quite a few people that say they miss reading because they can’t see as well as they once did, so they’re interested in our audio books,” Wall said. “Christmas is hard for some people. I’m finding they just need company and a few minutes to talk with somebody. I’m happy to do it.”

For more information about the local bookmobile, or to schedule a visit, contact 336-593-2419.

Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.

Stokes County operates one of only 24 bookmobiles left in the state.
https://www.thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_DSC_0007.jpgStokes County operates one of only 24 bookmobiles left in the state. Amanda Dodson | The Stokes News

The bookmobile service is a long running tradition in Stokes County and dates back to 1947 where it began as a converted bread truck. In the late 1980s a new, short wheel base Chevrolet van was purchased.
https://www.thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_bm-2.jpgThe bookmobile service is a long running tradition in Stokes County and dates back to 1947 where it began as a converted bread truck. In the late 1980s a new, short wheel base Chevrolet van was purchased. Courtesy photo

Jeannie Wall recently replaced Ronda Wilkins, who faithfully drove the bookmobile for 22 years before passing away in August.
https://www.thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_DSC_0002.jpgJeannie Wall recently replaced Ronda Wilkins, who faithfully drove the bookmobile for 22 years before passing away in August. Amanda Dodson | The Stokes News
‘It’s more than just a book, it’s a connection’

By Amanda Dodson

adodson@thestokesnews.com