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SWON News: The Low Down

​SWON Weekly: A Conference Scholarship and the Importance of Outreach

Monday, July 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cassondra Vick
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Bookmobiles, still relevant?
Do we need bookmobiles in the 21st Century?

The first library I remember going to was actually a bookmobile. I was not in a rural area, but I was in a sort of no-man’s-land when it came to library branches. My working, single mother had a car, but not always one that ran reliably, nor could she always afford gas for unnecessary trips. Meanwhile, I was such a voracious reader that even if we had more discretionary income, buying me enough books to keep me sated would have cost a small fortune. Needless to say, I have very warm memories of the large van full of books that would make its weekly stop in the parking lot of my elementary school. It was like magic.

There are some who would argue that in this day and age, when more people are mobile and the Internet is “everywhere,” that bookmobiles and outreach services have seen their day. However, as we’ve noted before, whendiscussing issues of Digital Equity, the Internet is most certainlynot everywhere. I don’t imagine that the child I was, transported to 2016, would have Internet in her home any more than she had the budget for books and trips to the library. Meanwhile, in rural areas, which often lack libraries, there is also commonly a lack of broadband.

Many types of communitieslack the means to access the library: be it because of income,age,health, and oftenimmigrantstatus. Meanwhile, our industry is not alone in banging the drum about serving people where they are, instead of making people come to you. Just look at the successes that services such asAmazon Prime NowandGoogle Expressare seeing. People want things to come to them. Outreach matters. It makes a difference.

And even Mary Lemist Titcomb, whodreamed up the idea of a horse-drawn libraryin America over 110 years ago (and thus is credited with founding the bookmobile in the US), understood the bookmobile’s potential for raising the profile of the library’s presence in the community: “Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship?” she wondered. It’s great advertising and builds wonderful goodwill.

So can we replace outreach with the Internet? Sure, the Web is widespread, but even Google itself seems to understand it is no replacement for outreach vehicles. In 2006, theyfunded the Mountain View bookmobileand paid to keep it going in 2014. And if Google knows it is important, then who are we to argue?

~Cassondra Vick, Tech Educator, SWON Libraries

P.S. --The Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) Conferenceis in SWON's backyard this year. See below for more info and a scholarship application.


 

ABOS

 

The SWON Libraries Diversity Scholarship for ABOS

In October of 2016the ABOS Conferencewill be in our neighborhood -- specifically at the Marriott River Center in Covington, KY.Thecost of early-bird registrationfor non-ABOS members is $350 ($250 for early-bird for members) and SWON would like to help provide a chance for an employee of a SWONSupporting Member Libraryto attend.

The eligibility is as follows:

  • Forthe Diversity Scholarship, our focus is on racial and ethnic diversity, therefore, preference will be given to those applicants from underrepresented racial minorities

  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not attended an ABOS Conference before

  • The applicant must be employed in a SWONsupporting member libraryand working in bookmobile or outreach services at the time the application is submitted

  • The applicant does not need to be a member of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS)

  • The Award will cover a maximum of $350 in registration fees for the 2016 ABOS Conference

  • The Award will not cover travel, hotel, or any other expenses

  • The award winner must register by August 26th at 5:00 p.m. to be eligible for the Early Bird Registration Fee

  • Applications must be received by August 1st

To apply, download the application at this link:bit.ly/ScholarshipABOSand make suretoemail the completed form toabosawards@gmail.comby August 1st for consideration. Please, contactabosawards@gmail.comif you have any questions.

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