For more than 60 years, New Mexico's State Library has sent thousands of books into rural towns via bookmobiles.
Now two new bookmobiles are being dispatched to serve thousands of rural New Mexicans without access to a public library by the New Mexico State Library, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The new bookmobiles will serve two of the three routes covered by the State Library, the northeast route out the Cimarron office, which serves Taos County, and the east route out of Tucumcari.
"As the fifth largest and fifth most sparsely populated state, New Mexico has many small and rural communities with no access to a public library," said Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Secretary Michael Delello. "Our staff finds that in each community these bookmobiles serve, the patrons are effusive in their appreciation for this program and grateful the have access to thousands of volumes without having to travel for miles to a large community with a public library."
Each bookmobile is equipped with shelves of books and a circulation desk. The customized specialty vehicles built by LDV are designed to carry the heavy weight of library materials. The exterior of the new vehicles features southwestern books written by New Mexican authors and the slogan, "Driven to Read." The exterior "wrap" was designed by the museum resource division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
The bookmobiles began touring the state in 1956. Now each bookmobile carries up to 3,000 volumes of all types and genres.
Staffed by two people per vehicle, each bookmobile travels a monthly route with regularly scheduled stops in rural communities in its region. Patrons can browse genres from the bookmobile collections, which are periodically rotated from the larger collection at the library office. The bookmobiles not only bring books, but other resources and programs typically available at public libraries, such as summer reading programs.
Among the three bookmobiles, more than 4,100 library patrons are registered. The bookmobiles are funded by capital outlay funds awarded by the New Mexico State Legislature. Ongoing operations are funded by federal funds provided to the state library.
Find the schedule at nmstatelibrary.org/direct-and-rural-services/rural-bookmobiles .