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Santa Maria's bookmobile offers education on the road

Santa Maria Bookmobile
The City of Santa Maria
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Santa Maria's Bookmobile parked in the city hosting events for local families

Santa Maria Public Library is bring their bookmobile around the city today for the last time this summer. But library staff say they're planning for more events, as they work to provide more literacy and education services for the Santa Maria community.

“We realized school has just started again, but it's kind of a fun last hurrah,” said Dawn Jackson, the city's library director. She said the Santa Maria Public Library has wanted to roll out their bookmobile plans since June 2020.

Throughout the pandemic, they were able to have a few spotlighted events, but now they are making their stops more frequent.

“We [also] have eight stops around town. We go to the Boys & Girls Club, we go to various parks, and we have pop-up stops that occur one Saturday per month,” she said.

Jackson said the reason for providing more stops is because of access. Their original intent was not just to provide access during the pandemic, but to reach people who may not be able to come into the library due to transportation issues or odd work hours.

“They can use the Wi-Fi that's on the bookmobile and we also have Chromebooks and printing for people to use on the go, which is really fun,” Jackson said.

With a 76 percent Hispanic and Latino community, the city’s public library will be dedicating thirty percent of their collection on the bookmobile towards Santa Maria’s Spanish-speaking community. Jackson said the bookmobile’s librarian is able to customize each stop for the part of the city they’re stopping in.

“As our bookmobile librarian goes out to stop, she sees what need there is at those locations. She can customize her collection a little bit to meet those needs,” Jackson said.

Today marks their last event of the summer, but Jackson said they are expecting to roll out more stops the rest of the year as pandemic regulations continue to loosen. The full calendar is online at cityofsantamaria.org.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.