Rochester Hills Public Library Purchases a New Mini Bookmobile

Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL) is pleased to announce the purchase of a new Dodge ProMaster 3500 utility van to replace the bus-sized community bookmobile. Over the past several months, the 30-year-old bookmobile bus has had maintenance issues that mechanics cannot diagnose or fix. RHPL purchased the bus from another library in 2018 as a temporary vehicle for outreach services to Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township. The bus served two libraries and thousands of patrons in two areas of the country.

A new Dodge ProMaster 3500 utility van replaces the bus-sized community Rochester Hills Public Library bookmobile.

For 18 years, RHPL has provided bookmobile service to the library community. For the past four years, the library’s beloved bookmobile bus visited over 20 locations each week, turning the library outward to bring critical services to where patrons live. It held over 3,000 popular items for all ages and was a favorite family destination for many.

The purchase of the utility van is part of RHPL’s overall strategic plan to manage a small bookmobile fleet. Library management spent a year and a half researching bookmobile trends and surveying bookmobile patrons on how best to serve their needs, and proposed the purchase of the smaller vehicle this year due to the growing unreliability and aging mechanics of the bookmobile bus. RHPL board of trustees approved the purchase of a smaller vehicle so that RHPL can provide a current, sustainable, and efficient model for outreach services.

“The hallmark of a strong library,” said Juliane Morian, library director, “is one that is convenient for its patrons. We are committed to turning the library outward into the community, meeting patrons where they are and evolving this service for the greatest good.”

The utility van will be outfitted with shelving and on the road in a few months. The new bookmobile will provide a similar service with some minor adjustments. RHPL will continue to work towards purchasing a larger bus-sized bookmobile, also part of the library’s strategic plan. Purchasing a larger bus requires a two-year turnaround before the vehicle can be outfitted and on the road.

Once the new mini-bookmobile van is on the road, RHPL patrons may pick up holds and choose items from a small collection of materials. For now, bookmobile holds may be picked up inside the main library or at the drive-thru window. RHPL’s Outreach Services team is working on ways to improve the bookmobile experience for patrons in the coming months and is excited to offer consistent, reliable, and friendly mobile service to the community once again.

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