Library to purchase new bookmobile
The Friends of the Florence County Library announced last week that a donor has stepped up with a $70,000 donation to secure the purchase of the new Children’s Bookmobile.
“Upon learning of the donation, I immediately felt chills on my arms and tears in my eyes,” said Leslie Denton, vice president of the Friends Board. “The generosity of our donors and the support we have received from our community are incredible. It is an honor to live in an area where people come together to enhance the lives of others.”
Denton noted that while the program serves children today, its importance is far-reaching.
“The love of reading will be with them a lifetime,” she said.
Roger Hux, a Friends of the Florence County Library Board member and former librarian at Francis Marion University, said he appreciates how this gift benefits the children whose families cannot purchase children’s books.
“The bookmobile will be great for children of poverty all over the county, particularly in our rural areas. It will be the pied piper of dreams,” said Hux.
In a press release, the Friends of the Library said modern bookmobiles are far from the one’s many of us remember as a child.
“Unlike former bookmobiles which were service vehicles modified to carry books, today’s bookmobiles are produced one at a time to precise specifications, similar to fire trucks and other specialized vehicles,” the release stated. “ Having long provided mobile library service to the area, Florence County librarians were able to give professional oversight in the design and production of the new mobile library. For this reason, the new bookmobile will have many important features that were missing from the original vehicle, such as a wheelchair lift, Wi-Fi, rear back-up camera, and a retractable awning for outside activities.”
It went on to state the new children’s bookmobile will “go to where the children are during the day, to sites such as daycares and kindergartens, providing a mini public library designed specifically for children.”
The children’s bookmobile circulates more books to children than every standing library in the county except the main branch, according to the release. In its last full year of service (2018-2019), the children’s bookmobile presented 403 programs to 13,162 children who checked out 6,734 titles. The new vehicle will be able to travel to many more facilities at more distant sites around the county and serve even more children.
“We all want to give a gift that ‘keeps on giving,’ and our donors have absolutely done this,” said Jo Etta Chewning, president of the Friends Board. “This gift perpetually sends the message to our young families that they are valued.”
The newly completed children’s bookmobile is expected to arrive in Florence in December where it will be stocked and prepared for immediate service.