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Reading hits the road

Readers across Marengo County are familiar with a certain white Blue Bird bus with a rainbow stripe. It’s like an ice cream truck – except it carries books.

The Bookmobile is part of the Marengo Library System and services patrons who live in the rural parts of the county as well as those who cannot travel to a library.

“This is such a great service because the Bookmobile specializes in large print books,” said Joyce Morgan, librarian for the Marengo County Public Library and former driver of the Bookmobile.

“Many elderly people have problems and can’t get out. The Bookmobile goes to a lot of assisted living homes.”

James Creel, a retired UPS driver, is the current Bookmobile librarian. Every two weeks, he drives the Bookmobile around six different routes in the county, making stops at homes, stores and churches. The library is always looking for new stops to add to the existing routes.

“We would love the opportunity to add new stops,” Morgan said.

The Marengo County Public Library has also used the Bookmobile in its current summer reading program by having it make two stops for presentations at the Rural Heritage Center.

“This is something to grow on,” said Morgan. The Bookmobile also participated in a four-week educational program at Sweet Water High School.

While the Bookmobile is not allowed to go within city limits except to provide service to assisted living homes, Morgan encourages those who see it making its stops throughout the county to visit it.

“If someone sees it, they should stop, go in and look around. If they see something that interests them, they can just sign up as a patron,” Morgan explained.

The Bookmobile can borrow from the Demopolis Public Library and the Marengo County Public Library to provide a wide array of book titles to its patrons. The Bookmobile specializes in mostly fiction and children’s books, and new books are added monthly to the collection.

The Bookmobile has been housed in several different types of vehicles in the past, including a converted bread truck in the 1990s.

The current Bookmobile was purchased and is maintenanced by the Marengo County Commission.

“The only way we can keep it operating is through the support of our county commission,” Morgan said. “This is a free service offered by the Marengo County Commission to the residents of Marengo County.”