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The Bookmobile: Bringing the Library to Your Community

October 4, 2012

Newspaper headline: Bookmobile called best way to boost library service

The above headline and quote below was from a Post-Bulletin article dated September 25, 1946 in which librarian Lucille Gottry first brought up the concept of a bookmobile.

It wasn’t until 20 years later, October 24, 1966, that the bookmobile became a reality when the first vehicle went into service with a rotating collection of 5,000 volumes selected to appeal to both children and adults. A larger bookmobile replaced the original in 1978 and yet an even larger one replaced that one in 1997.

The newest bookmobile arrived in Rochester in September and went into service on Saturday, September 15th. It is larger than the last and features green technology. It has a hybrid drive train. That means that when the bookmobile is traveling less than 30 mph, it is going exclusively on battery power. That saves us a significant amount of diesel fuel every year. In addition we have solar panels on top. They allow us to power the lights, computers and the daily operations. This saves us 1-2 gallons of diesel fuel every hour. At 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that really adds up. There are LED lights both inside and out, not only are they nice bright lights but they also use less energy. Recycled rubber material was used for the flooring and all the finishes have low a VOC (volatile organic compound). That means that they are less likely to  induce allergic reactions or release toxic fumes into the bookmobile.

Kim Edson., “We’re very proud of the level of the engineering that went into the bookmobile. We did it with the help of a wonderful consultant, Michael Swindowski and a team who was committed to creating the best possible vehicle for our community.”

The graphics on all sides of the new bookmobile were designed by local artist Blair Harrington. Upon his first viewing of the completed bookmobile he was impressed on how it turned out.  “I love it. I think it’s just the neatest thing. I’m really proud to have been part of this project.” Harrington has his own graphics business called No Box Graphics.

Mayor Ardel Brede attended the open house that was held at the library on Monday, September 17th. “We’re so pleased to be able to have this bookmobile be available to the whole community. It is very important to keep these resources available as people move toward higher education. There are just so many things that point out the value of being able to read.”
Currently the Rochester Public Library bookmobile has the highest circulation of any other bookmobile in Minnesota. It visits over 77 different neighborhoods in the City of Rochester and Olmsted County targeting areas in the community where there are geographic, transportation, economic and other barriers to using the main library. The bookmobile regularly carries more than 4,500 items including adult and children’s books, audiobooks, magazines and DVDs. In addition to visiting neighborhoods and schools within the city limits, it also makes weekly visits to Byron, Oronoco and other locations in Olmsted County. The bookmobile is handicapped accessible and has a wheelchair lift. You may pick up a bookmobile schedule at the library, or find one online.

Lucille Gotry

The First Bookmobile – 1966 – 1978.

The Second Bookmobile

The Second Bookmobile – 1978 – 1989.




The third bookmobile

The Third Bookmobile – 1989 – 2012

The Fourth Bookmobile - 2012

The Fourth Bookmobile – 2012



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