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Kalamazoo's Library Hits The Road

Kalamazoo Public Library

The Kalamazoo Public Library is back on the road. It's new "mobile library" will make its first public appearance today on Tuesday, July 6.

Kevin King is KPL's head of community engagement and branch services. He says the "sprinter van" is smaller than the library's old "Bookmobile." But King says it will serve the community in new ways.

"It's primarily, in a lot of ways, an outreach vehicle. It's to take the library from our stationary buildings out into the the community and truly be a mobile library, and to bring what we have to offer in the buildings out to the public."

King says the service is mainly intended to reach areas of the community where many people haven't been taking advantage of the things the library offers. They are primarily lower-income neighborhoods.

King says people who visit the new mobile library will find a lot of things to use and enjoy.

"There'll be materials for you to check out. There'll be books and movies. There'll be books for adults, there'll be books for teens, there'll be books for children - so, the things you'd expect when you hear the word 'library.'"

King says there will also be things like board games. And he says the mobile library will be a venue for library services like "storytime" readings for younger kids. The van's mission also includes bridging the "digital divide."

"If you're somebody who doesn't have access to a laptop or a tablet," King says, "They'll be able to check those out and use that at a stop because the mobile library is a Wi-Fi hotspot."

The KPL mobile library will make its first stop on Tuesday, July 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. during a food truck rally at Oshtemo's Flesher field on Ninth Street. King says it won't have regularly scheduled stops like the old bookmobile did but will instead go where it is needed most.

Other planned stops include:

Rockwell Park on July 7 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Upjohn Park on July 8 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Black Arts Festival's Youth Day at the Douglass Community Association on West Paterson Street on July 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Davis Street Park on July 14 from 3 to 5 p.m.

More information about the mobile library's schedule is available on the KPL website.

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.