Rural Bookmobile Program Provides Lifelong Learning

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Reprinted courtesy of: New Mexico State Library

The Rural Bookmobile Program provides life-long learning opportunities by offering library services to citizens living in rural areas without access to public libraries.

Over 30% of bookmobile patrons are children!  Education in rural New Mexico is directly supported by bookmobile services.   Our student bookmobile patrons are champs!  A home schooled 6th grader participated in the Letters about Literature program offered through the Library of Congress.  Her essay won the 2013 Level 1 championship for New Mexico.  Many other bookmobile students received honorable mention.   Many K-12 and college students ask and receive study materials through the bookmobile services.

Rural Library Services delivered via the bookmobiles serve a critical role in rural economic development providing information and resources that directly support business development tools, infrastructure knowledge and direct requests by patrons for materials related to home-based, local community and family-owned businesses.  A ranch manager overseeing cattle and horses diversified into raising bees.  With no experience or knowledge of raising bees, the ranch manager checked out several books on Beekeeping.  He achieved the ranch owner's requirements of raising and maintaining cows, horses and bees.  Library materials are available to ranchers, farmers, and small rural businesses across a variety of industries.     

Librarians working on the bookmobiles also provide important information for the health and well-being of our patrons bringing state and federal program information, books, video and audio items about nutrition and dietary needs, self-development and other health-related topics.  Our patron’s lives are enriched through our commitment to research and deliver meaningful and fun information.

2013 Annual Statistics: (est. 1956)

Annual Library Materials Circulated:       86,000 items

Registered Library Card Holders:              5,129

Collection:  Over 66,500 books, audio and video items available

Miles:                                                 63,706 (5,300 miles per month!)

Library Stops:                                    1,157 (96 stops per month!)

Patron Visits:                                    15,367 (avg 13 patrons per stop)

Costs/Patron Visit:               $37.65

Total Bookmobile Costs:    $578,510

Operating support for this rural library program is made possible through a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the generosity of New Mexico’s communities and citizens.

IT IS AN EVENT when the bookmobile rolls into any one of 24 counties served! Our librarians work in teams of two to stock the bookmobiles with 4,000 book titles that patrons check out.   Adults and children living in rural areas are able to enrich their lives by participating in the Summer Reading Program, Letters About Literature, National Library and Bookmobile events.