By Gerardo Zavala | The Daily Democrat
The Woodland City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the purchase of a customized $650,000 mobile library for the library department.
Funding for the mobile library includes $121,000 in grant funds from the California State Library, $252,835 from the Priscilla H. Gordon Trust bequeathed to the Woodland Public Library Board of Trustees with the remaining balance of $274,116 from the Measure R Fund.
City Manager Ken Hiatt explained during the council’s Tuesday meeting that once the mobile library is deployed, the truck will accommodate up to five or six individuals including two additional staff members.
“People are going to be able to check out books, peruse some of the books that they have…and there will be computers as well for individuals to be able to access resources at the library through the online database,” Hiatt highlighted.
The city staff report stated that Woodland is 15.4 sq. miles and has a single library that is no longer centrally located for many residents.
“The library seeks to provide library services to the community with a special emphasis on low-income and Latino residents of Woodland,” the report emphasized. “A mobile library to visit residents that are not currently using the library to bring library services to the community on a regular and consistent basis.”
The report added that there is a need for a mobile library because more than 40% of households in Woodland have zero or one vehicle at home used for transportation to and from work leaving the rest of the household without personal transportation.
“In addition, three-quarters of 4th-grade students reading below grade level are economically disadvantaged and over 20% of Woodland adults do not have a high school (or equivalent) education,” the report stressed. “There is a large need for families to receive information, literacy services and job readiness training to improve their lives and those of their families.”
Additionally, the report noted that the English-speaking population in Woodland is 1.5 times the size of the Spanish-speaking population, yet the English storytimes at the library have nearly 10 times as many participants as the Spanish.
“There is a large segment of our population that do not go into the library to participate in early literacy activities,” the report argued. “A mobile library will promote reading and literacy by bridging the gap between existing library users and those who do not currently visit the library. It will create new venues for access to library and registrations, storytimes, circulating collections and other library services to parks, apartment buildings, neighborhoods and events to expand the impact of our libraries on the community.”
The mobile library will be a hybrid diesel truck-style bookmobile based on the Freightliner M2 106. The report argued that the main benefits of this style of vehicle are lower cost, lighter weight construction, lower floor height, squared read service area with no wheel wells, long duty cycle and ease of drivability, accessibility and serviceability.
Mayor Pro Tempore Victoria Fernandez added that the mobile library has been in discussion for over a year and is something that will allow accessibility to different neighborhoods in Woodland.
“It’s a great method for us to outreach to our neighborhoods and I think the vision is to eventually be able to provide books for community members to actually own when a funding source becomes available,” Fernandez remarked. “I think it’s a great endeavor by the library to provide accessibility to an entire community.”
The council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution authorizing the purchase of the $650,000 mobile library and appropriating money from the library trust fund and Measure R fund.
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