Bookmobile – Rochester Public Library (Current)

Rochester Public Library has one bookmobile. As a librarian noted in a public meeting about the library’s future, “BOOKMOBILES ARE BRANCH LIBRARIES.”

Here is a quote featuring Rochester Public Library’s Kim Edson in a 2010 article on bookmobiles:

Bookmobiles better than branches quotes by Rochester Public Library librarian


The 2012 bookmobile, as noted on the RPL web site, is also GREEN:

About the Bookmobile
In September 2012, the Rochester Public Library debuted its new Bookmobile. The new, larger bookmobile features green technology: a hybrid drive train and generator, solar panels, LED lights and recycled rubber floors.

We only have one bookmobile present, but considering the demand and current schedules, it would seem that we could use a second bookmobile. Data tracking users might show that longer stops would be used. Maybe additional features could be added to the bookmobile(s) that would encourage even greater use with longer stops.

The Bookmobile regularly carries more than 4,500 items, including adult and children’s books, audiobooks, magazines and DVDs. It has the highest circulation of any bookmobile in the state of Minnesota; in addition to visiting neighborhoods and schools within the city limits, it also makes weekly stops in Byron, Oronoco and other locations in Olmsted county. The bookmobile is handicapped accessible and has a wheel chair lift.

Currently the Rochester Public Library bookmobile has the highest circulation of any other bookmobile in Minnesota. It visits over 77 different neighborhoods in the City of Rochester and Olmsted County targeting areas in the community where there are geographic, transportation, economic and other barriers to using the main library.

I wonder how many people are aware of the extensive range of the bookmobile? I didn’t realize until reading the above text that it actually goes to Byron and Oronoco!

These stats demonstrate that the bookmobile functions as a moving branch library.

Brick and mortar branch libraries STILL REQUIRE TRANSPORTATION to get to them. Buses are expensive (per person and per trip with no “on and off” privileges) AND WORST OF ALL TEDIOUSLY SLOW method of getting anywhere “quickly and easily” to pick up books.

I will double check, but I am sure that people could do library reserves online and have them brought on the bookmobile to their neighborhood. And even more amazing, it is HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE!

The RPL web site features an excellent schedule for the bookmobile that is very easy to find out where and when the bookmobile will be near you. Since people are big on biking, even if it wasn’t walking distance, some people could cycle to the location more easily than cycling downtown!

The bookmobile page offers options to print or download the entire summer schedule, for example. Unfortunately neither the spring nor the summer pdf downloaded; I will convey the error message to web master.

It would be greatly improved if we could tie a GIS map to the schedule because having to check addresses one at a time on Google maps or similar is tedious. New people in town might not be able to recognize the nearby street names.

Even better would be the feature like the “find your legislator” or similar where you put in your address and then the routes nearby would show up. You could also pick somewhere where you are already going. like a grocery store, and plan to visit the bookmobile at the same time. This might be helpful to people who want to use the bookmobile more frequently than it stops near their home, for example, in Byron, but would come to town for shopping.

These are two simple existing available technologies that could help serve users more fully right away.



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