‘Bringing the library to them’: Spokane County District’s new ‘branch’ is a traveling bookmobile

The Spokane County Library District’s newest site has much in common with its original location.

The district’s first library was a bookmobile, and now its 12th “branch” is a library on wheels, said district strategic project manager Amber Williams.

The 34-foot hybrid Freightliner is known as LINC, an acronym for “Libraries in Neighborhoods and Communities.” LINC, along with a new mobile service van, was made possible by voter approval of the 2019 library tax.

During the summer, LINC will make stops at Spokane County parks and free lunch sites. In the fall, LINC will have a regular schedule of stops in different communities around the county. The goal is to reach areas without nearby library branches. Scheduled stops include Latah, Elk, Spangle, and Rockford, among others.

“We want to be able to reach the farthest county limits,” Williams said. “It’s much more financially feasible than building physical libraries in outlying rural areas. Instead, we bring them the library.

LINC offers all the functionality of its physical counterparts. You can sign up for a library card, return books in the book drop, and check out new books, DVDs, or CDs. But the vehicle’s design means employees can offer so much more than a traditional bookmobile.

“We can provide programming, recovery assistance and informative events for adults and children,” said Sarah Rooney, Outreach Specialist.

In addition to borrowing materials and participating in programs, you can connect to Wi-Fi for your mobile devices, use a library computer and access the Internet at LINC, and print your files using the library mobile printing option.

“That’s as much library as we can fit into a vehicle,” Williams said.

The mobile library is also versatile.

Shelves can be removed, desks and seating added, and art supplies are stored in the risers at the rear of the vehicle. There’s even an elevator for those who can’t get through the entrance steps.

Tuesday afternoon at Valley Mission Park, guests toured the vast space. The sun filtered through the three skylights, but the LINC’s air conditioning kept everyone comfortable.

Williams said battery-powered air conditioning is 30 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than the traditional type. The new Valley Library has a garage with a charging station, but Avista is letting the district charge CLIC at one of its sites for now, she said.

Danielle Marcy, Outreach Supervisor said, “People are very excited. It causes a lot of nostalgia. They are reminiscent of the bookmobiles of the past.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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