The WRL Book Mobile is a tech decked Mercedes-Benz 24′ Sprinter – not the old book mobile inside or out!
You may spot a familiar logo on a shiny new van driving around town this spring, as Williamsburg Regional Library’s new Bookmobile makes its debut. The state-of-the-art vehicle is an exciting addition to WRL’s fleet of Mobile Library Services vans, which bring library collections, services, and programs to every corner of the community.
“Mobile outreach is a key component of our mission, which aims to make the library accessible to people in all parts of town and all walks of life,” said Betsy Fowler, library director. “Our MLS vans bring a slice of the library to adult care communities, schools, day cares, and public spaces, with particular emphasis on visiting neighborhoods where residents may have difficulty finding the time or transportation to get to a library building.”
Though the library vehicles have been making the rounds to various community hubs for decades, the new Bookmobile represents a significant upgrade to what the library can offer at many of these stops. The walk-on van, which is a Mercedes-Benz 24′ Sprinter, includes numerous features that increase the usability and appeal of the Bookmobile space. Interior and exterior lights, as well as windows for natural lighting, make the collections of books, DVDs, CDs, and other materials housed on the vehicle easily browsable.
A stereo/PA system, backup camera, HVAC unit, and parking sensors also enhance patrons’ comfort and safety when on or around the van. Interchangeable shelving allows the interior to be rearranged to serve several different purposes, allowing it to transform into a mobile tech center or Learning-to-Go classroom as needed.
The Bookmobile is decked out with the latest technology, much of which will rotate in and out of the space to meet the needs of difference audiences and types of events. Tech features include a smart TV with Apple box, computers and iPads, Nintendo Switches, and printers. The van is WiFi equipped with expanded 5G capability.
One of the most exciting upgrades to the new vehicle is a retractable awning that can be deployed when parked to expand the footprint of the vehicle and provide shade and space for programs or displays that will be set up right outside of the van.
Special events like storytimes and craft demonstrations will be held under the awning, and the Bookmobile is stocked with colorful and kid-friendly seating that can be pulled out and placed on grass or asphalt to make patrons more comfortable as they take part in a program or leaf through a book they checked out.
“The new Bookmobile will allow us get more creative with what the library can offer outside of the confines of our buildings,” said Eletha Davis, Mobile Library Services manager. “We foresee hosting everything from children’s musical performances to printing labs to video game tournaments — programs that educate, entertain, bring people together, or meet a vital need in our community.” WRL will celebrate the Bookmobile’s debut with a series of special open houses throughout late March and early April. The open house schedule is as follows:
- Williamsburg Library (515 Scotland St.): March 22-27 during library open hours
- James City County Library (7770 Croaker Rd.): March 29-April 3 during library open hours
- Abram Frink Jr. Community Center (8910 Pocahontas Trail): April 10, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
- James City County Recreation Center (5301 Longhill Road): April 10, 1-2 p.m.
- Audrey Simpson Jones Park (2885 Chickahominy Road): April 10, 3-4 p.m.
The Bookmobile will begin its routine neighborhood stops the week of April 5-9. The schedule for the first week is as follows:
- April 5
- Raintree: 3-3:45 p.m., Raintree Way
- Burnt Ordinary: 4-4:45 p.m., 3301 Toano Dr.
- April 6
- Windy Hill: 3-3:45 p.m., Jan Rae Circle Playground
- Heritage MHP: 4-4:45 p.m., 8810 Pocahontas Tr.
- Country Village: 5-5:45 p.m., 10 Gray Gables Dr.
- April 7
- Ironbound Village: 2-2:45 p.m., Palmer Ln.
- Ironbound Square: 3-3:45 p.m., Robinson/Watford Ln.
- Midlands: 4-4:45 p.m., Midlands Rd.
- April 8
- Rolling Meadows: 1-1:45 p.m., Grand Strand Dr.
- Lafayette Square: 2-2:45 p.m., 121 Lafayette Blvd.
- Powhatan Apartments: 3-3:45 p.m., 220 Burton Woods Dr.
- Chisel Run II: 4:-4:45 p.m., Chisel Run Rd.
- April 9
- Sylvia Brown Apartments: 1:30 – 2:15 p.m., New Hope Rd.
- Colonial Towne Apartments: 2:30 – 3:15 p.m., 327 Merrimac Tr.
- Merrimac Crossing: 3:30 – 4:15 p.m., 159 Merrimac Tr.
For the latest MLS Neighborhood Stops schedules and more information about other MLS events and services, head to www.wrl.org/wrl-comes-to-you. Check out www.wrl.org/bookmobile or click the image link above to watch a short teaser video that gives you a look inside the new Bookmobile.
To find events this week at the library visit our weekly post on library events here: