After months of hard work and planning, the Northumberland Public Library rolled out it’s new “Big Blue” Tech Mobile last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market in Heathsville.
On hand were members of the board of trustees, library director Cherie Carl and Barbe Bonjour Pike, who made the initial donation for the project through her foundation named for her husband, Otis G. Pike Charitable Trust VIII.
“Without her, there would be no tech mobile,” said board member Jim Russell.
Many in the community took a tour of the new vehicle, which will drive to neighborhoods to provide an internet connection, a copy and fax machine, as well as books, books on tape and movies for patrons to borrow.
There was a steady flow of curious people throughout the morning. Courtlyn and Headley Bowis, both age six, were two of the first patrons to borrow books from the Tech Mobile. Jacob Johnson, age seven, hung out for a while, sitting inside to read “Where the Wild Things Are” and using the iPad to game.
Northumberland residents are asked to go to the library or call the library at 580-5051 to request a stop in a neighborhood. If they have the ability they can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not hard to see the shiny, big blue vehicle sporting a blue crab blowing bubbles. But it’s what’s inside that’s so spectacular. The interior, designed with Tiffany Yachts, is much like the inside of one of their handcrafted boats – wooden flooring, carpeted seating on the wheel wells and boat lighting. At the front desk (yes, there is one) are staff members Joanne Adams and Casey Gaskins.
The walls are lined with shelves of books and DVDs. At the back is a big window and an area to use laptops and an iPad. There is plenty of space for patrons or to conduct a story time. Outside lighting and an awning will be added in the coming weeks.
“It’s not as important today for people to come to the library as it is for the library to come to the people,” said library board member Jim Russell.
Bonjour Pike called the Tech Mobile “extra special” because of the internet and other technology it will bring to neighborhoods.
“Internet access isn’t good all over Northumberland County,” she said, adding she hopes people will also read more books.
Carl said she is reaching out to the community to let the library know where the Tech Mobile is needed.
“We want to do it in a thoughtful way,” she said.
The library also thanked other community donors including River Countries Community Foundation, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Friends of the Library, the Library of Virginia, Bruce Craig who traveled “on his own dime” to Missouri to do the original test drive and Mason Brent who paid for one of his employees to drive the vehicle to its new home in Heathsville. Local companies hired to overhaul the vehicle included Newsome’s Body Shop, Tiffany Yachts, Inc., Silco Truck Services, Inc. Baughan Tire & Automotive, and Kilmarnock Lettering Co.