Books come to us
Bookmobile service brings large library to Sanpete, Juab
MANTI—The Sanpete and Southern Juab County Bookmobile rolls into Manti every two weeks and, during its most recent visit, Dax Keller, 7, was first through the door to check out a fresh stack of books.
“I like science books, like on spiders and rattlesnakes,” Keller said, adding that he most recently learned that tarantulas are nothing to fear from a book he read in Spanish. “Tarantulas don’t actually bite people unless you are mean to them.”
Keller checks out at least three books a week, almost exclusively from the Bookmobile. When asked why he visits so frequently, Keller replied simply.
“To get books,” he said.
The Bookmobile, which circulates around Sanpete and Southern Juab County bi-monthly, is a program organized by the Utah State Library and sponsored by the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. The vehicle is a truck turned roving library with nearly 5,000 books onboard.
Utah State Librarian Donna Jones Morris said the Bookmobile is a service meant to promote literacy and provide access to books wherever possible.
“We want to provide library service to the parts of Utah that do not have fixed libraries people can get to conveniently,” Morris said.
Amongst other things, Bookmobile is a way for communities to get engaged in reading and learning. Patrons have access to audiobooks and online reading with their Bookmobile library card and, according to Morris, free WI-FI is also available.
“Sometimes people bring their own devices and download books if they do not have internet access at home,” Morris said. “We are helping people have access to Utah’s online library.”
For Kaylee Gowans, 12, it is all about mystery novels.
“I like mysteries where kids are the main characters,” Kaylee said. “I can relate to it more and they are more fun to read.”
Her brother, Aiden Gowans, 14, prefers Richard Paul Evans’ young adult and science fiction series about an electric man named Michael Vey. Aiden said that the Michael Vey series is so popular at his school that, “If you just say that name, people will know what you are talking about.”
The entire Gowans family, including Aiden and Kaylee’s brother, Derek, 6, and mom, Amy, has been stopping by the Bookmobile nearly every two weeks starting fall 2016.
Most often, they can expect to run into Bookmobile librarian Jim Ericksen.
“I have been driving about 12 years. I started off as a relief driver,” Ericksen said. “We [the librarians] wear many hats. We have to drive it, make sure it is maintained and as far as the librarian part of it, we do everything from ordering books to knowing what our patrons like to read.”
Patrons can ask the librarians to order anything they would like to read from young adult and youth reads to databases and mature novels. The headquarters for Bookmobile in Fairview holds nearly 20,000 books. If a desired book is still not available online, at headquarters or on the Bookmobile, virtually anything can be obtained with an inter-library loan.
“Google doesn’t have the answer to everything,” Morris said. “We can provide resources that help people in rural areas get degrees, start businesses and help kids spark.”