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.
Yes, the new bookmobile is here! We’re still going through our adjustment phase, the new bus and I. It has that new car smell and drives like a dream. And there’s air conditioning, even if I haven’t quite figured out where to point the vents so that I don’t blow my patrons away. There are shelves to browse and folks can step inside and feel like they’re in a library again. When they ask me if I love it, though, my reply has been “I’ll get there.”
You may remember that the vehicle stayed at the City Yard for two full weeks before I got to bring it ‘home.’ On the day it was delivered from Ohio, I sat in the Yard with the Farber rep while he went over all the buttons and switches on the dashboard – and it all made perfect sense. Two and a half weeks later, when I took it out on the road for the first time, it took me 20 minutes at my first stop to remember how to turn on the interior lights. And it was three stops before I could get the air conditioning going. It felt the same as when someone shows me something new on the computer. “Click here, then drag this over, then save it and you’re done!” It all seems reasonable at the moment, but when I try to repeat the process by myself later, somehow it doesn’t work quite as well.
The ‘check engine’ light has been on twice already and I’ve had to swing by the Yard. One time, it was a hose that had come loose and was easily fixable. The other time, though, was more curious. Billy (the Wonder Mechanic) plugged in the tablet to get a reading of the problem and the machine said something about fumes escaping. It took us forever but he finally realized that the cap for the fuel tank needs to be turned a bit beyond the click. (I almost entitled this piece “Beyond the Click!”) Yes, after we fill the tank and have turned the cap until it clicks, we have to continue turning just a smidge more – not even a quarter turn – so that the seal is tight. As they say, it’s all in the details.
I have been out on the road, following my regular schedule, and everyone is very happy! One of my patrons brought cookies to share as a celebration! I stopped at one of the preschools and pulled up along the curb as usual. These kids had not ever seen the old bookmobile, they only knew me in the minivan. I heard them talking out on the playground. “What’s that RV doing there?” “How come that RV came to our school?” I poked my head out to say hello and they wanted to know what I had in “that RV.” They were thrilled to come inside to find stacks of books!
I continue to adjust shelves and rearrange materials. It’s still white, although we did get some magnetic strips for identification. The most often asked question has been “Aren’t you going to decorate it?” and I explain that it’s in the works. It’s been two weeks now, so I’m beginning to feel the regular routine – switch this on, hold this button, check that toggle, don’t forget to turn this one off when I get back. Folks from some of the branches have been by to see it; I stopped at the Friends of the Library meeting to show it off (they had been very generous in their support!) Next week, the Library Board will visit during their regular meeting upstairs. So we’re getting there. And yes, I do love it!