BOB (Books on Board) the Bookmobile was purchased by the Friends of the Homer Library (FHL) to promote reading, lifelong learning, and the services offered at the Homer Public Library. The primary focus of BOB is youth who do not use library services. During the summer, volunteers take BOB to playgrounds where kids and families are invited to borrow books and learn about library services. In the fall, BOB visits area elementary schools where books are loaned to teachers and each student also selects a book of their own to keep. So far, all of the books distributed through BOB have been donated through book drives at area schools and the Homer Public Library.
The schools in the Russian villages Voznesenka and Razdolna do not have school libraries. For them, the chance to have a portable library visit is not only exciting, but a valuable enrichment opportunity. When FHL planned the first BOB visit, a teacher asked us: “What books can you bring?” Our response was: “What books do you need?” It quickly became apparent that the donated collection was not sufficient. English is a second language for many of the students in the Russian villages, and it is misguided to assume that the students have the same interests and passions as kids at larger schools in Homer.
Recently, FHL volunteers culled BOB of severely worn out books. While FHL will continue to make use of donated books, it’s evident that FHL needs to curate a collection that fits the needs and interests of those FHL seeks to reach. FHL has invited representatives from area schools to attend a brunch at the library where they can give feedback regarding the kinds of books their students love, and the types of books they wish their students had more access to. With their recommendations, along with guidance from library staff, FHL will purchase new and gently-used books for our bookmobile collection, which will then be loaned to kids during BOB’s summer and fall outreach programs.
Funded by Alaska (March 2018)