PORTLAND, Maine — As part of its goal to “create a City of Readers,” Portland Public Library is pleased to announce the arrival of the Book Mobile. A ribbon-cutting and open house with Mayor Michael Brennan will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 2, in Monument Square to celebrate this momentous occasion.
The bookmobile is a 24-foot-long vehicle that will house 1,500 items at any one time. Equipped with solar panels, wireless Internet capabilities and sides that open up for additional book and material storage and programming, the vehicle will enable the library to provide outreach into Portland’s underserved neighborhoods.
“This is a critical development in the life of the Library and how we create a presence in each City neighborhood”, says PPL Executive Director Steve Podgajny. “It is vitally important that we go to people – where they live, work and recreate – and build with partners the love of reading in Portland!”
The bookmobile dovetails perfectly with Mayor Brennan’s recently established Portland ConnectED, a community initiative designed to create pathways to success from cradle to career for all Portland children, students and residents by supporting and encouraging early literacy for the city’s youths.
The bookmobile will target families, particularly those with young children, in neighborhoods that are not served by a branch of the Portland Public Library system, and will enable the library to be a presence in all city neighborhoods.
Additionally, the bookmobile will reach out to individuals who may lack transportation or the time to travel, be experiencing health problems or simply be intimidated by the prospect of going to the library, or who may not yet be readers.
The new service will enable Portland Public Library to partner with cultural and educational partners throughout and beyond the city, concentrating on literacy, technology access and instruction, and lending of library materials, building a community of readers and learners through exposure to books and reading.
One of the Book Mobile’s first stops will be Monument Square during the First Friday Art Walk and will be available from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 5. A more formal summer schedule will be available soon at www.portlandlibrary.com.
Additionally, the library is partnering with KeyBank to provide individuals and families with coaching on spending, tracking, budgeting, saving, basic investing, organizing financial paperwork, opening and using banking services, financial goal-setting, and managing credit.
Sterling Kozlowski, president of the New England District of KeyBank, said, “KeyBank has been a longtime supporter of underserved communities in Maine through our financial education outreach and our low barrier banking services. This bookmobile will further advance financial education to individuals through workshops and individual sessions and access to the financial resource books and materials available within.”
The Book Mobile was purchased through library funds and a major gift by KeyBank.