Ventura County Revives Bookmobile Concept With New Generation High Tech "Mobile Library"

May 10, 2019

A 3-D printer is whirring away, make a toy sized version of a van is sitting next to in a Ventura parking lot. The van is a 2019 version of something many of us knew as kids: A bookmobile. But you can’t call this gleaming new vehicle a bookmobile. It’s much more than that. It’s the Ventura County Library system's new Mobile Library.

Nancy Schram is Ventura County’s Library Director. She says in addition to books, it has laptops, wi-fi, and is set up to offer a varity of interactive programs for kids. The 3-D printer is also a part of the technology with the van.

In the parking lot next to the van are some popup tents, and tables. A group of kids from Oxnard’s Rio Del Sol school are learning about physics, and aerodynamics, as they make paper airplanes. They use coins as cargo: Molly Krill is the Library System’s new Youth Services Manager. She says the paper airplane project is the type of special program which will be offered when the mobile library visits Ventura County communities.

The Mobile Library is actually a cutting edge revival of something Ventura County pioneered some eight decades ago. Schram says in the 1930's, the county had the first bookmobile in the state. The program ran for six decades, but was a victim of budget cuts in the 1990’s.

The new $200,000 project was made possible with a mix of donations, and grants. The Ventura County Library Foundation raised $100,000. It was matched with $100,000 in federal funds awarded to the Library through the state. The van cost $175,000, with the extra $25,000 going to books.

Library officials say depending on where the van is headed, it will be filled with children’s books, or in some cases books for older users.