Outreach Services and Bookmobile History

The Outreach Services Branch first began in 1942 when Hiram Library’s bookmobile made its first stop at Rootstown School. It eventually grew into a branch with two bookmobiles providing library service to daycares, preschools, and nursing homes. However, in 2004, when there was a substantial cut to state funding and PCDL’s ability to maintain and/or replace the bookmobiles wasn’t possible due to the budget cuts, the difficult decision to suspend the bookmobile delivery service was made.

It was out of the need to continue providing library service to bookmobile patrons and individuals unable to visit a physical branch location (either due to injury, disability, immobility issues, or another medical condition) that the current structure of the Outreach Services Branch first began. Beginning in 2005, PCDL began using a van to make home and facility deliveries on a two-week rotation schedule.

In addition to these deliveries, Library Express- delivery program developed through a LSTA grant that won an innovation award in 2004- provides library service to nine remote locker box locations throughout PCDL’s service area with a second van. Library Express allows patrons to request library materials online and they are notified by either email or telephone when their materials are available for pickup at their selected location. Locations include Aurora, Brimfield, Deerfield, Edinburg, Hiram, Mantua, Rootstown, Randolph, and Shalersville.

Library service is also available at The Library Box, located on the NEO-MED campus and inside the NEW Center. First introduced in 2016, The Library Box is a lending machine (similar to a snack vending machine) that patrons can select either fiction or non-fiction titles which are then retrieved by opening the door at the bottom of the machine.

Outreach Services’ future will include a bookmobile once again, as the passage of PCDL’s levy in 2021 will allow a substantial expansion of the Outreach Services Branch. Included will be additional staff, bookmobile stops at schools without a physical branch location, and more. PCDL expects delivery of the new bookmobile by the end of 2023.

Outreach Services’ hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. For more information, call 1-800-500-5179 ext. 220.

Source URL: https://portagelibrary.org/content/outreach-services-and-bookmobile-history