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Roseville hopes to get digital bookmobile on the road

City needs to raise $50,000 to fund mobile library
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Local library lovers share a common dream: They want a bookmobile to roll into Roseville.

The city of Roseville’s mobile library fund has about $50,000 set aside to replace the current delivery van, but $50,000 more is needed to cover the costs of an updated mobile library. The city is relying on the help of the nonprofit Friends of the Roseville Public Library and Roseville Library Foundation to get the bookmobile on the road in spring 2014.

But this won’t be your typical bookmobile stocked with hardcover and paperback books. Instead, it will be digital, providing tablets, laptops, eReaders, wireless Internet and database access. The purpose is to improve the community’s access to technology.

The bookmobile will boast several special features, including a pop-out awning and P.A. system for programs and storytimes, a service window for checking out library materials and solar-assisted power generation.

Roseville City Librarian Natasha Casteel said the bookmobile will help the public library system fulfill two of four service goals outlined in its 2013-15 Library Strategic Plan: “optimize access to and enhance quality of facilities” and “take library services into the community; bring the community into the library.”

The library will soon launch an eCommerce page for online donations from the public, and staff is in the midst of planning for its annual winter gala fundraiser in December, Casteel said.

The nonprofit Roseville Library Foundation will host technology demonstrations and fundraisers to pay for this bookmobile. The group’s first outreach event took place June 20 and raised $2,430, according to President Dawn Heywood. The foundation is organizing another mixer Sept. 5 at the Downtown Roseville Library.

“This digital bookmobile will be a valuable asset to Roseville because it will be another way to bring electronic library services out into our community, and reach those who cannot get transportation to our branches,” Heywood said.

Founded in 2008, the foundation builds private support for Roseville’s three libraries. While public dollars pay for the daily operations of the facilities, the libraries need assistance when it comes to special programming and technology upgrades.

One of the programs sponsored by the foundation is Tales to Tails, for children ages 6 to 11 to read with therapy dogs — the kids get to read at their own pace with the friendly ear of a dog.

The nonprofit Friends of the Roseville Library also provides financial and volunteer support for various programs and used book sales.