The New York Public Library will soon have three new bookmobiles available to serve local communities. The mobile libraries are nearly 20-foot-long Sprinter vans. Each van will be staffed with two library employees and is capable of transporting up to 1,000 books that have either been requested for checkout or can be browsed curbside.
Books can also be retturned or renewed, and New York City residents can sign up for library cards and receive reference and reader services. The bookmobiles will have many roles, including helping to supplement service when branches are temporarily closed for renovations and improvements.
The first bookmobile, which is undergoing testing now, will be deployed to support the Bronx community during the one-year closure of a local library. Two more units will hit the streets this fall and serve communities in Manhattan and Staten Island. Beyond supplemental service, the mobile libraries will also visit local community centers to engage the community and bring library service out of the walls of local branches.
The new mobile libraries — funded by the City of New York — are the first New York Public Library bookmobiles to serve the public in decades. Various book vans, bookwagons, and traveling libraries have been used by the New York Public Library over its 124-year history.