Bookmobile

Patty Cross, library assistant and bookmobile/outreach, brings the the Buckeye Public Library System — and a personal touch — directly to the community with the Roadrunner Bookmobile. (City of Buckeye/Submitted)

Patty Cross, who works with the Buckeye Public Library System and its mobile library, remembers the impact her community bookmobile had on her as a child.

“I grew up with a bookmobile up in Idaho, and I still remember. I even remember my bookmobile driver’s name,” said Cross, library assistant and bookmobile/outreach. “But it was always, ‘The bookmobile is coming, Mom! Let’s go to the bookmobile!’”

She parlays that love of reading and community togetherness into her role with the local Roadrunner Bookmobile, through which she has made her own impact since the city of Buckeye launched it in 2008. She said it provides a personal touch and allows her to get to know the community.

“Because our bookmobile goes out and deals with people on a smaller-number basis at a time, Patty is really able to focus on those customers who are coming and what their needs are. And they love her,” said Christine Larson, library/museum administrator.

 “When somebody else has to drive the bookmobile, we hear about it because everybody wants to know where Patty is, because she has provided that amazing service and helps them not only just find what they’re wanting, but she has gotten to know them and is able to suggest literacy, different authors or different writings, or bring things out for them to try. It’s pretty amazing how she can personalize that service for them.”

The Buckeye Public Library System offers bookmobile services to the Buena Vista, Festival, Sundance, Tartesso and Verrado communities, according to the city’s website. Services include checking items out, returning items, placing hold requests or getting a library card.

“We have a little bit of everything on there; it’s just a smaller amount, of course,” Cross said, citing more than 2,000 books onboard, ranging from those targeted for kids to others for young adults or adults, subjects both fiction and nonfiction, and even graphic novels. “And we have room for people to come on and look around.”

The bookmobile plays an important role in providing literary access to those who may otherwise not have the means to get to a library.

“Back when we launched the bookmobile in 2008 — our city encompasses 650 square miles — we only had one library at that time, which was the Downtown Library, far away from the I-10, and our community goes way north of I-10. And so (we were) looking for a desirability to provide library services to our entire community, which was growing back then. We had the housing boom that was happening, and Buckeye was growing really fast,” Larson recalled.

“So the bookmobile was our way to expand our reach of library services. That’s why we have it still, and we are continually looking for how we can utilize it to expand our services to those who can’t get to our library or the time’s not right, they’re working, whatever — but ways so that we can get out into the community.”

The city may now have two locations, the Downtown Library, 310 N. Sixth Street, and Coyote Branch, 21699 W. Yuma Road, Suite 116, but its bookmobile is still going strong, bringing reading opportunities directly to those in the community.

The next three stops include the Buckeye Senior Center from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, July 27; the Sage Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 28; and the Tartesso Community Park from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28.

“During the school year, we expand it, and we’ll be expanding to different venues as well. So we’re looking forward to that,” Cross said. “We do a lot of preschools and events, parades. We’re going to go to the Sundance Park and meet up with people there that are there for sports and just be there for people.”

Larson added, “That’s going to be a test pilot that we’re doing. We have hundreds and hundreds of people that go to the park for their practices and their games. And so in just trying to figure out how to best serve the community, we’re going to test-pilot going out to where big groups of people are and educate them about the library, about the bookmobile, where it’s going, where they can find it, and hopefully be able to just educate people about the library and what it has to offer.”

For more information on the Buckeye Public Library System or to check the bookmobile schedule or other library programs, go to buckeye.polarislibrary.com.