The Evanston Public Library welcomed Overdrive’s Digital Bookmobile at two stops in Evanston on June 12. The 42-foot vehicle parked in the Main Library’s parking lot before driving to Over the Rainbow for the afternoon. Styled a “high-tech update to the traditional bookmobile” by Overdrive, the vehicle is designed to promote the eBook and AudioBook
options available to library patrons.
“It’s wonderful to share digital literature options, and we thank our partner, Overdrive, who brought this [vehicle] to Evanston. I’m delighted with the event,” said Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons. Overdrive is the company the library uses to provide digital media checkout to patrons.
Over the Rainbow’s Director of Finance, Les Russo, called the visit “a great thing for the community. We strive to become a part of the community … to become fully integrated.” Per its website, OTR is an organization “Dedicated to providing independent living solutions for individuals with physical disabilities.”
“When Robin [Fifth Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons] came to us with the idea, we were ecstatic,” said Mr. Russo. “What could be better than these young kids?” he said, gesturing to a group of young Fifth-Warders in the bookmobile using the computers provided.
Jill Skwerski, the library’s Community Engagement Librarian, said the OTR event furthered the library’s “focus on turning outward and coming into the community.” She was one of seven Evanston librarians who attended training provided by the Harwood Institute several years ago. Peoples’ aspirations, and the barriers to those aspirations, are a challenge the library tries to meet. Programming like the digital bookmobile and the book bike help to provide access to information, programs, and services to individuals in the community.
“I am excited to welcome the Digital Bookmobile to the Fifth Ward,” said Ald. Rue Simmons. “This is a great example of innovation, equal access, collaboration, and commitment to literacy for all.”
By 8 p.m., the bookmobile had rolled on to its next stop, but in its wake were a bunch of new library-carded patrons, summer reading participants, and people who know how to use the library in new, exciting, and different ways.