Mobile library unveiled in Chapel Hill

thecirculator

Chapel Hill residents peruse the Circulator, a new product from Chapel Hill Public Library.

The Chapel Hill Public Library unveiled its new pop-up library, the Circulator, at the Chapel Hill Farmer's Market on Saturday.

Susan Brown, the director of Chapel Hill Public Library, said the goal of the Circulator is to bring the books to the people who are typically not familiar with the library.

“The idea was while that we have lots of people that can visit us at our building, there are lots of people out there we weren't reaching," Brown said. "So, the idea was to be able to take the library out into the town more. It's a little bit different than a traditional bookmobile so it will not have regular stops, but we can take it almost everywhere.” 

The funding for the Circulator came from a federal grant through the federal Institute of Museum and Library services of almost $100,000 under the Library Services and Technology Act and a $15,000 donation from the Friends of the Library, according to a press release.

Meeghan Rosen, the assistant director of the Chapel Hill Public Library and project manager of the Circulator, stated in a press release that the Circulator not only has books but also has other materials that will encourage people to learn.

“Sometimes we will bring books with us to events, and we also have dozens of games, costumes, crafts and furnishings to create a place to simply relax and talk with a helpful, knowledgeable and friendly librarian," Rosen said. "The Circulator is designed to be responsive to what people tell us they want and need.” 

Chapel Hill resident Linda Palladino said she was visiting the Circulator with her grandchildren and was happy with the outcome of the project and how it helps lower socioeconomic areas.

“I love it and my grandchildren love it,” Palladino said. “They're going wild over it, I think it will do well for the community. I love their outreach that they are doing with the low-cost housing community.”

Rosen said the Circulator is based on events, and they fill the Circulator with materials and books that are appropriate and applicable for each event. For instance, the bookmobile was filled with materials like cookbooks and books about gardening and vegetables for the unveiling ceremony at the Farmer's Market.

"If we are in a different location for a different event, then we bring a different set of materials," Rosen said. "We always have games, we always have crafts, we always have the truck with the solar panels and the power, and we have a hot spot on top so we bring it all." 

Brown said the bookmobile is a fun service for the community to that provides a specific kind of outreach. 

"But the purpose is to bring the library out to you to either folks that can't get to us or folks that can't to us often enough," Brown said. "We can bring purposeful literacy programming, computer training, books and DVDs out. So I think it is fun with a purpose." 

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