Arrowhead Library System to Resume Bookmobile Service

The Arrowhead Library System (ALS) Bookmobile will be back on the road starting Monday, June 15, three months after the service was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like public libraries all across Minnesota, the Bookmobile service will look different when service resumes. For at least the rest of this Summer, the Bookmobile will be offering a “curbside” style of service. According to Jim Weikum, ALS Executive Director, “Before the Bookmobile visits their community, patrons are highly encouraged to request items at least a day or two in advance of their scheduled stop.” Library users can contact Bookmobile staff via telephone or text at 218-742-6762, or e-mail staff at bookmobile@alslib.info There’s also now a request form on the ALS website at: https://tinyurl.com/ALSBKM . Sophia Anderson, ALS Bookmobile Coordinator indicated that “We will also have paper copies that list many of our newer materials, including books and DVDs.” The lists are available on request.

Requested items will be placed in paper bags labeled with the first four digits of the patron’s last name and last three digits of the patron’s barcode. These items will be available on a designated table for patron curbside pickups at the patron’s scheduled Bookmobile stop. Request form sheets will also be available at the Bookmobile stops that patrons can complete when the Bookmobile arrives in their community. If those requested items are available, Bookmobile staff will retrieve the items from the Bookmobile and place them in a paper bag labeled as indicated above. A bin for returns will be placed on a table and labeled “Returns” and those returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before being available again for borrowing. During this curbside phase of Bookmobile service, members of the public will not be allowed on the Bookmobile to ensure a safe environment for the public and the Bookmobile staff.

The other major change for at least the Summer months is a somewhat abbreviated schedule to allow the Bookmobile to stay a little longer in many locations to allow library users to adapt to the new style of service and have more time for Bookmobile staff to offer assistant. “We hope to restore the full schedule yet this year,” stated Weikum. In recent years, the Bookmobile has had over 60 different stops during the course of its three-week rotating schedule. “For the foreseeable future, we will have to suspend 20 of our regular stops,” according to Weikum. “It is very difficult for the Bookmobile staff to reduce the number of stops as the staff is very committed to everyone who uses the service.” The suspended stops are typically ones that are located within easy driving distance of one of ALS’s twenty-seven member public libraries, or quite close to another stop than tends to be significantly busier.

Information about the Bookmobile service, including the new schedule and a map with the locations of the current stops, can be found at: https://www.alslib.info/services/bookmobile/