County library sys­tem pre­pares mo­bile library for spring 2017

County re­quests art sub­mis­sions for mo­bile li­brar y

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­ Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

County Com­mis­sioner Amanda Ste­wart has fre­quently cham­pi­oned the county’s library sys­tem as one of the sta­ples of the com­mu­nity. How­ever, she said, ev­ery­one hasn’t al- ways had the same ac­cess be­cause of lo­ca­tion.

In 2017, that will change, she said, with the ad­di­tion of the county’s book­mo­bile or mo­bile library. And in prepara- tion for it, the county has be­gun an art sub­mis­sion con­test for lo­cal artists to sub­mit pieces into a con­test where they could po­ten­tially be fea­tured on the out­side of the mo­bile li­brar y.

The theme for the art sub­mis­sions is “learn­ing, dis­cov­ery and tech­nol­ogy” ac­cord­ing to Crys­tal Hunt, a spokes­woman for Charles County Gov- ern­ment. Ste­wart said she is ex­cited to see the win­ning sub­mis­sion and called the con­test a “great en­deavor.”

This was one of Ste­wart’s first projects as a com­mis­sioner, she said, and she made it a pri­or­ity.

“I don’t want to wait four years to get this done,” she said.

As a mem­ber of the Charles County Library Sys­tem Board of Trust- ees, Ste­wart has been a sup­porter of hav­ing a mo­bile library through­out her stint as a com­mis­sioner. Now, she said, it is be­com­ing reality for not just her, but the county’s res­i­dents as well.

“Hav­ing books avail­able through­out our com­mu­nity is im­port- ant,” Ste­wart said. “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to that. Be­ing able to go to dif­fer­ent ar­eas, day­care cen­ters, se­nior ar­eas, ar­eas where they don’t have re­ally good Wi-Fi.”

The book­mo­bile was once a com­mu­nity trea- sure, Ste­wart said, but has since dis­ap­peared from tra­di­tion. When she was in school, she said, they were one of the things she looked for- ward to each school year.

“To be able to bring that back is huge,” she said.

The mo­bile library will be 26 feet long with 17 feet of load­ing space. It will be wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble with a lift, have four com­puter sta­tions for public use and will be able to hold up to 2,000 books at a time.

Adult, teen and chil- dren’s col­lec­tions will be fea­tured and on­line re­sources will be avail­able as well with a free Wi-Fi con­nec­tion.

Janet Salazar, the ex- ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Charles County Library Sys­tem, said the public library has a lot to of­fer as a com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tion and will now in­crease what they can give with the mo­bile li­brar y’s ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

Ev­ery­thing the lo­cal li­braries around the county have to of­fer will now be avail­able to a wider range of peo­ple be­cause of the library’s mo­bil­ity, she said. That in­cludes “neigh­bor­hoods, schools, com­mu­nity cen­ters, events or even lo­cal busi­nesses.”

The li­brar y will be open to the public and on the road in spring of 2017, Ste­wart said. Cur­rently, she said, it is sched­uled to be­gin op­er­at­ing “some­time in April.”

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