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Eager board members get first peek at new bookmobile

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Library on wheels could be on the road by late May

By TRISTA LUTGRING, Feature Writer

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TELL CITY – Members of the Perry County Public Library were able to see the beginnings of a new bookmobile being built for the library.

Library Director Larry Oathout shared with board members present at the board’s February meeting Feb.1 a report and pictures of the new vehicle. Oathout and bookmobile librarian Brandi Sanders traveled to Canton, Ohio, Jan. 25 and 26, where the bookmobile is being built to see how the process is coming along and to make final interior design decisions.

“It was certainly well worth the trip to get all of our design work done and get put together on site,” Oathout said as he presented a slide show of pictures to the room.

The pictures showed the vehicle model’s exterior, which Oathout and Sanders commented “comes in (looking) just like a school bus.” Pictures of the gutted interior and some of the first pieces of the new bookmobile that had arrived for installation were also shown.

“The first thing they do is take the windows out, strip it out … They do a lot of cutting on these things,” Oathout explained.

The new vehicle will be about a foot longer than the current one and will be “state-of-the-art,” Sanders said.

“We’re very excited. When you look at our bookmobile, it doesn’t look that old, it’s still in good shape, it’s still functional. Yet when you go look at new ones … it’s phenomenal,” she said.

Oathout also informed board members the bookmobile would have to be equipped with a satellite for Internet access while on the road, which was not in the original plan. The equipment and installation with the system will increase the price, but Oathout said there was money in the fund to cover the expense.

“Anywhere we go (the vehicle will have Internet), so long as we have a clear shot of the southern sky,” he said, adding the service package for the system qualifies for the state’s e-rate program, allowing the library to get a 70 percent discount on the cost.

He also reported the building of the bookmobile was ahead of schedule. Instead of looking at an August delivery date, Oathout said the library could receive the new vehicle by the end of May.

In other business:

Oathout mentioned the library would be planning a few events throughout the year to officially welcome Cannelton’s library and to celebrate other major library events. The first will be an open house at the Cannelton branch, set for March 28.

At their last meeting, members of the Friends of the Library group voted to provide $1,500 in materials for Cannelton and to provide refreshments for the open house. Oathout also asked the board members if they would approve meeting at the Cannelton branch for the March board meeting. All members agreed.

The next big celebration in the works for the library would be receiving a new bookmobile in May. Finally, Oathout reminded board members the Tell City branch’s 10-year anniversary would be this fall and the staff hoped to have an event marking the occasion in August or September.

The Cannelton Library was named in the estate of Mildred Vaughn, who passed away in January. Vaughn was a schoolteacher at Cannelton for 43 years. Oathout told members he wasn’t sure how much the library would receive, but would keep the board updated.

Oathout informed members he had spoken with June Miller of the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network regarding a long-range plan for the library. She will appear at the board’s next meeting to discuss her ideas.

The board’s next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the Cannelton Library.