JOHN DAY – The Grant County Library’s new bookmobile rolled into town Monday – all the way from Ohio.
Librarian Vicki Waters was a little road-weary from the trip, but ecstatic.
“It’s like a dream come true,” she said.
The 1995 Ford diesel rig replaces the county’s old bookmobile, which threw a rod near Fox during a run to the northern part of the county in late April.
The County Court initially looked at repairing the old vehicle, but the estimates ranged from $3,000 to $4,000. The Court decided the price was too steep, given the likelihood that the 40-year-old rig would just keep requiring expensive repairs.
Fortunately, the county had a bookmobile replacement fund – an asset that began about 25 years ago with a donation from an anonymous library lover. Over the years, the fund grew to more than $36,000. It has been tapped only for repairs since then.
Library staff began searching online for used bookmobiles that might make a good replacement. The best bet was offered by the Troy-Miami County Library system, which had recently purchased a new bookmobile.
The Ohio library was asking $22,900 for the vehicle; Waters offered $18,500 pending a good mechanical inspection. The Court gave her the go-ahead to pick up the vehicle, with driving assistance from Monty Bond.
Waters and Bond took turns at the wheel driving the vehicle back from Ohio.
Arriving in John Day, Waters said one of the first tasks will be to replace the lettering that says “Troy-Miami County” with “Grant County.” Also on the to-do list is a thorough cleanup after the long trip.
Waters and assistant librarian Chris Ostberg plan to move books into the bookmobile sometime next week, and then show it off at the Grant County Fair in August.
Bookmobile service is on hiatus during the summer, but will resume in the fall as schools open.
Waters said the new rig should be quite an improvement. Even with diesel, it gets better gas mileage than the old vehicle. It also has more shelf space – room 2,000 books, up for 1,200 to 1,400. It also features a door near the front and one at the back, so patrons can be routed in one door and out the other, and a check-out desk that is wi-fi capable.
It also is handicap-accessible, with a ramp for use by wheelchairs and people with limited mobility.Read more on bluemountaineagle.com.