New Greene County bookmobile delights kids with stories

Cameron Chaney, bookmobile cleck, reads a story to Greene-View Elementary kindergarten students from the steps of the new Greene County Bookmobile, Tuesday Sept, 14, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Cameron Chaney, bookmobile cleck, reads a story to Greene-View Elementary kindergarten students from the steps of the new Greene County Bookmobile, Tuesday Sept, 14, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Dolly makes way to schools year-round, sharing books with thousands of children.

Staff members at the Greene County Public Library serve municipalities across seven branches, but like to think they have an eighth – on wheels.

The Greene County Bookmobile, which visits 30 schools a year and approximately 5,000 children per month, brings stories to kids all across Greene County, and gives them a place to fuel their minds and their imagination.

In August, the library retired its previous bookmobile (known affectionately as Bertha) after 21 years in service and dedicated a new one, named Dolly in honor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The bookmobile in Greene County has served thousands of families over the years, some for multiple generations.

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“People brought their kids and said ‘Oh my gosh, I came here as a kid to this bookmobile,’” said Evan Scott communications coordinator. “They were twentysomethings who have young kids now, and grandparents bringing their grandkids.”

Dolly was in action Tuesday, visiting Greeneview Elementary School in Jamestown. Classes in grades K-5 came outside and onto the bus to check out books, everything from nonfiction to graphic novels. Second-graders Kaia Hargrave and Tinley Sharrett excitedly picked out matching books about big cats.

“We both like leopards and cheetahs,” Hargrave said. “Cats are my favorite animals.”

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Students at Greene-View Elementary School in Jamestown enter the new Greene County Bookmobile, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Students at Greene-View Elementary School in Jamestown enter the new Greene County Bookmobile, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Caption
Students at Greene-View Elementary School in Jamestown enter the new Greene County Bookmobile, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

“They love it,” said second-grade teacher Hannah Joiner. “They like the idea that we get out of class to come do this. It’s extra library time, and sometimes it’s books that our library doesn’t have.”

The bookmobile also helps kids to have the opportunity to explore topics and stories that they care about, an aspect that helps teachers, too.

“I get to see what some of their interests are,” Joiner said. “Some of the kids go straight to books about unicorns, or books about dinosaurs. It’s not restricted. It’s whatever you want to read, you can pick out.”

The bookmobile holds approximately 4,000 books, and visits around 30 schools year-round, said bookmobile manager Stacy Westfall. The mural that decorates the outside, a lively collection of scenes with library mascot Booker T. Fox, was created by Liz Stotler Robertson and illustrator Wakka Ciccone, both of Yellow Springs.

Dolly also features a state-of-the-art chairlift and modern safety features, which allows children with wheelchairs to enjoy the bookmobile for the first time.

“Kids check out a book or two, and we’ll be back in a month to turn those in and get new ones, and it goes like that through the year. In that respect, they’re like another location. It’s just a traveling location,” Scott said.

“It’s their library,” he said. “They may go to their local library, or have one at school, but this belongs to them.”

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