Tales from the Road

bookmobile general 3

Life on the bookmobile is a bit different from the other JMRL branches.  We all have our ups and downs, our good days and bad, but there are some situations one only encounters out on the road.

With the bookmobile, I visit country stores and post offices, some neighborhoods, several preschools, and many senior communities.  These last are always my busiest stops; patrons are waiting for me to arrive, book bags and request lists in hand.  I go to JABA-sponsored low income complexes, the fanciest communities up on the hill, and everything in between.  I was well into middle age when I started on the Bookmobile, it was a perfect time to look forward to discover the possibilities.

It has been an honor and a privilege to work with so many seniors over the years.  I have heard some amazing stories of times past and lives lived around the world; I’ve met their families, talked about books, and commiserated over illnesses.  We’ve moved through the stages of regular print to large print to audiobooks.  They’ve moved from independent living to assisted living to nursing care, often with stops in health care and hospice.  We’ve shared laughter, tears, fears, and some heart-breaking moments.

The first time I learned one of my regular patrons had passed away, I was reading the Sunday paper.  The obituaries came up as I turned the page, and there was a picture of one of my ‘little ladies.’  I was taken aback and glad I was home alone.  I’ve learned since then to check the obituaries regularly.

Over the years, I’ve interacted with many staff members, aides, volunteers, family members and surrogate family members who care for these elders.  As a whole, it is an amazing group of people who give of their time and attention from the kindness of their hearts.   I’d like to hope that I add some small measure of care myself.

Tales from the Road

bookmobile general 3

Life on the bookmobile is a bit different from the other JMRL branches.  We all have our ups and downs, our good days and bad, but there are some situations one only encounters out on the road.

As part of my regular schedule, I bring the bookmobile to a number of preschools.  The teachers bring the children out to the bus and each one gets to choose a book for the classroom.  I make a bit of a fuss over each choice, telling the child what the title is and how much I like ‘that book.’  One morning, as a class left the bookmobile and the teacher reminded everyone to say thank you, one of the little ones hollered back “Thanks, Grandma!”  I smiled all day.

Delivering a Good Book with a Hot Meal

mow-logo

We are so excited to partner with our local chapter of Meals on Wheels! This fall, John Halliday, the Director of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL), was approached by Leigh Tripp, the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels (MOW). She had heard of a partnership in another municipality in Virginia and wondered if we could create something similar. For the library, it was a natural fit for the Bookmobile branch.

Meals on Wheels serves hot meals to over 250 clients in the local area every day. They have an extensive network of volunteers who make the deliveries and have regular contact with the homebound folks. The idea was that they could deliver library materials along with the meals. MOW is very organized and has a solid structure in place; it was easy for us to fit right in.

JMRL’s job is to create accounts for the MOW clients and keep track of their reading preferences. MOW’s role is to deliver the books and pick up returns. Bookmobile staff stop by the MOW office on Fridays to pick up new applications and any returned books. We then process the materials and choose new items for the patrons. These get dropped off at the MOW office on Monday morning, to be delivered sometime during the week.

Word is getting out and the response has been very enthusiastic. We’re happy to be able to provide this service and offer many thanks to the hard-working MOW volunteers!