Bridging the gap for residents without access to its traditional amenities, the Boca Raton Public Library has recently introduced a new mobile library services van.
Through the library’s events and community engagement team, the service van will provide materials and resources to residents who don’t have transportation or have other limitations.
The public library, while adjusting to the world of COVID-19, came up with the concept for the service van after seeing a similar program being done in another state.
“We had this idea because we saw there was a similar van in the Kansas City Library system,” said Amanda Leibl, the public library’s events and community engagement coordinator. “We realized that a lot of what they were doing in Kansas City were things we were doing now but using our own vehicles or other city vehicles.
“This is kind of two fold because like everyone else in the world we have a now scenario and we have a post-COVID scenario,” Leibl said. “Our now scenario is really looking at what we can do safely... Post-COVID we hope that we can use it for outreach events at different places like FAU. We can bring it to do storytimes at different schools and preschools. Hopefully, we can branch out and do more book delivery too.”
In addition to the proposed plans, the public library intends to have the new service van help sign up residents for library cards as well as deliver materials to residential facilities and high-density residential areas.
The Friends of the Library, which is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization dedicated to supporting the Boca Raton Public Library, donated $77,075 toward the purchase of the van in commemoration of the library’s 30th anniversary last year. The van’s purchase was delayed due to the pandemic.
“We’re so lucky that we have such a great relationship with our Friends of the Library,” Leibl said. “Really it was as simple as presenting the idea to them and they were onboard pretty much right away. We were lucky they were able to fund that for us and make it somewhat of an easy process.”
The nonprofit receives funding through memberships, grants and book sales at the bookstore in the Downtown Library, 400 NW Second Ave.