Nicholas P. Sims Library will take books and library programs on the road to reach patrons throughout Waxahachie, Texas.
Nicholas P. Sims Library is opening a new branch, and it’ll be right near you.
Starting in 2023, the library will run a bookmobile as much as four days a week, bringing a wide selection of books and special events to all areas of the city.
The climate controlled Mercedes Benz Sprinter will hold about 5,000 books inside and give access to the library’s resources to homebound patrons and others who face challenges in traveling to Downtown Waxahachie. Remote stops for the bookmobile will be a mix of special one-time events and routine destinations.
Nicholas P. Sims Services Librarian Heather Fuller says the bookmobile selection will change as demand dictates, and all books in the library’s collection can be checked out and picked up at any of the several routine bookmobile destinations.
“It’s really been one of our directors’s big passion project since she started here — something she’s really been pushing hard for,” says Heather, referring to library director Barbara Claspell. “We’re trying to get to areas where we know a large portion of the city can’t physically get here — maybe they don’t have cars — we do have quite a few homebound patrons that can’t come here. And we want to make sure they’re getting the opportunity to use the library services as well.”
Heather says the whole library experience will be made accessible remotely by the bookmobile, from checking out books to signing up for and receiving a library card on the spot. The bookmobile will make craft events, story time and adult programs accessible to daycares, schools, senior centers, parks, farmers markets and other destinations.
“We’re planning to go out at least four days a week,” Heather says.
The library serves about 200,000 visitors every year, only around 5% of which use the library’s e-book services. Despite the rapid adoption of the internet and digital media by people of all ages, physical books and in-person activities remain and major draw for the library.
“More people prefer to actually be here — be out, enjoying their community and enjoying the library and checking items out than necessarily using our ebooks,” Heather says.
Community Services Librarian Jennifer Graf will be the full-time bookmobile operator, and she says “the patrons have the ability to get on the bookmobile and check out books, make library cards, print documents, and then we’ll also do a program. So depending on where we’re at will determine what program — whether it’s like a storytime or a craft or robotics or something similar to that.”
Additionally, the bookmobile will make high-speed internet connection, tablets, printing services and robotics and coding programs available.
Funding for the bookmobile was approved last year by the City of Waxahachie, and special events will be underwritten by local businesses, Jennifer says. The bookmobile will also serve as a marketing tool for the library itself.
“Basically, it’s like having another branch without having to find the perfect location,” Jennifer adds. “We can take it anywhere. So, we’re excited. We’re a little nervous, but we were looking forward to it.”