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Kalamazoo To Get A "Mobile Library"

Andrew Robins

The Kalamazoo Public Library has a new three-year plan. And it includes a new mobile library on wheels. Just don't call it a "bookmobile." Library Executive Director Ryan Wieber says it will be much more than that.

"It's going to provide technology. It will still provide books. But it may not provide books on a regular basis, a regular stop on a weekly notice. We see it promoting the library, introducing the library, bringing collections, bringing technology, bringing a WiFi hotspot to an event or to a park."

Wieber says the mobile library should hit the road sometime in 2020. The library announced it's new "KPL Plan" on Wednesday, June 12. One focus is making the library's services, and staff, more diverse.

Credit Andrew Robins / WMUK
The view from the top floor of KPL's Central Branch downtown

The plan also includes a new "library of things." Wieber says it will offer patrons a variety of objects you might not associate with public libraries.

"A scientific calculator, a microscope: things that people may need for a temporary purpose or reason but they don't have the need or means to go out and buy something. So why not have the library be that place where they can find that tool or that technology and check it out."

Wieber says another initiative will turn the library into a place to hold discussions about important, and sometimes sensitive, issues.

"People wanted to discuss these important issues and topics, especially civic topics, in a civil and comfortable way. And why not have the public library be that safe place to do that."

Wieber says that came out of public input used to develop the new "KPL Plan." It also includes a new scholarship funded by the Friends of the Library to help train more minority residents to become librarians.

Andy Robins has been WMUK's News Director since 1998 and a broadcast journalist for over 24 years. He joined WMUK's staff in 1985. Under his direction, WMUK has received numerous awards for news reporting.