STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – If you can’t make it to the library, it’s making its way to you. The New York Public Library is broadening its access to free books and resources with its bookmobile, which is essentially a library on wheels.
Nadia Gamaan, 10, visits the bookmobile weekly at Faber Park with her mom and 5-year-old sister.
“I love getting new books from the bookmobile,” Gamaan said. “They always have new books every week.”
The selection is smaller than a branch, but senior librarian Heather Barnum says there’s still something for everyone.
“We have books in Spanish, we have books for grown-ups, we have books for kids, we have books for teens,” Barnum said.
The bookmobile covers when there are any type of library closures in the neighborhood. The Port Richmond branch in Staten Island is currently undergoing renovations, but the bookmobile has many of the same capabilities.
“We can check out books from here, check in books, and we can create a library card all within a few minutes,” senior librarian Paul Galfano said.
When the bookmobile arrives, Barnum says young children will run to it like it’s an ice cream truck. The librarians also set out a mat so adults and kids can read on the grass.
There’s also an information center set up outside the vehicle with guides on the upcoming primary election and resources for people who may need to access library books differently, such as with larger print or alternative options for the visually challenged. There’s also an added bonus of free COVID tests.
For 10-year-old Nadia Gamaan, books are more fun than screen time.
“Most people be like, ‘Video games are fun,’ but no, reading is actually pretty nice and once you start reading, you can’t stop and that’s really good,” Gamaan said.
The New York Public Library has a bookmobile in Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx throughout the week. To see when and where it’s in your neighborhood, click here.
The Queens Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library also have mobile libraries.