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County purchases two more bookmobiles


Last updated 2/14/2008 at Noon

On January 29 the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to establish $700,000 of appropriations into the County Library fund to purchase two new bookmobiles.

The funding was derived from a balance in the 2006-07 County Library fund. The two existing bookmobiles will not be retired but will be deployed on less demanding routes, thus expanding the number of bookmobiles from two to four.

“The older bookmobiles will continue to be in service,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

The county has utilized bookmobiles for mobile libraries to rural unincorporated areas and other locations without library access since 1978.

Currently the bookmobile program provides service to approximately 16,000 residents and has an annual circulation of approximately 46,000 volumes.

In 2001 the county purchased two Extremely Low Floor bookmobiles to enhance service to individuals who have difficulty entering a bus-type bookmobile.

Although the normal service life of those vehicles was expected to exceed ten years, the high mileage and the steep inclines of the bookmobiles’ service areas have caused the vehicles to be out of service frequently.

Over the past two years, the two bookmobiles have been out of service 36 times for a total of 266 days and repair costs have exceeded $45,000.

County Library staff and Department of General Services staff researched the type of bookmobile vehicles used by library systems which serve other mountainous and geographically large areas including library systems in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

The evaluation determined that a 36-foot bus chassis vehicle with a hydraulic “kneeling” feature and wheelchair lift would be suitable for a bookmobile.

Such a bookmobile would also be built on a standard bus chassis identical to those used by the Sheriff’s Department and Probation Department which would simplify repairs.

The existing bookmobiles will no longer serve the mountainous areas of the county but will be redeployed to serve areas which do not have steep inclines. They may also be used as temporary mobile libraries in the event of temporary branch closures.


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