| This year's
National Library Week was a time of beginnings and endings for the staff
of the Cullman County Public Library System as they said goodbye to a
faithful old friend and welcomed a new program that brings promise for
The CCPLS Bookmobile, a 1978 Gerstenslager received
by the library system in 1993, was retired this week and sent to the
county surplus yard.
Nicknamed "Galloping Gertie" by the library
staff, the vehicle was originally purchased by the State of Alabama in
1978 for use at the Cross Trails Regional Library in Opp. Gertie served
in Geneva, Crenshaw, and Covington Counties before moving to the Gadsden
Public Library in the 1980s and finally to Cullman County, where she
served with distinction, according to CCPLS employees.
library's antiquated bookmobile, is hauled off to become surplus.
was state of the art for 1978," said Assistant County Librarian Max
Hand, who headed the Cross Trails System while Gertie was in service
there. "The new unit will put her to shame."
Mechanical problems and the cost of constant repairs
to a 25-year old vehicle finally rendered the vehicle totally obsolete.
As Hand implied, though, bookmobile service in Cullman County is far
The library's new "Raising
"This week, we
inaugurate our 'Raising Readers' van service to pre-school children in
Head Start and daycare facilities," said John Paul Myrick,
Cullman County Librarian. "We have also begun to raise funds for a
According to Myrick, the bookmobile service has
a long, storied past in Cullman County, beginning with continuous
service from the 1950s until 1981 and again from 1993 until the present.
At the time of the current bookmobile's retirement, in fact, bookmobile
circulation accounted for some 20 percent of all materials borrowed from
the county library.
"The service was brought back in 1993 as an
experiment to determine if such service could meet library service
deficits in the county," Myrick said. "Cullman County’s
service was used as an example in congressional hearings which led to
the first major federal funding for rural library services in the late
The old bookmobile transported approximately 1,200
books and videos to area schools, senior centers, rural communities and
other locations. The new
bookmobile will have the capacity for almost twice that number and will
also provide Internet access via satellite.
Federal funding for 50 percent of the cost of a
new unit is being sought from the Alabama Public Library Service, but
the County Library’s share of the cost is expected to be around
"The City of Cullman has already
contributed funds and has pledged more to the unit, and the Town of Good
Hope has contributed towards the new bookmobile," said Dorlene
Daniel, Library Business Manager. "However, more funding will be
needed to cover the $110,000 cost and we’re asking for help."
Persons wishing to contribute towards the $55,000
needed to help pay for the new unit are asked to donate at the library
system's main branch in Cullman or to give to the “Bookmobile Fund”
at Educator’s Credit Union on Elizabeth Street in Cullman.
The interior of the new
"Raising Readers" van, which will visit local Head Start
facilities and daycares.
| The newly
launched "Raising Readers" van program will be similar to the
bookmobile service, but aimed at a much younger audience.
According to library officials, the free outreach service
will involve visiting local daycares, Head Start programs and other
children's venues with the aim of introducing preschoolers to reading
and providing an additional resource for both educators and child care
providers who wish to better prepare their students for school.
Outfitted primarily with thematic kits, puppets,
teacher/caretaker resource materials and other learning activities, the
Raising Readers van also
carries brochures, pamphlets, and other information to assist parents,
teachers and caregivers information on promoting reading and learning,
parenting skills, social services for children and other programs.
Raising Readers Van Service was provided with a grant from the federal
Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Alabama Public
Library Service and the Cullman County Public Library System.
Additional funding and support came from donations from the local
community. Major contributors to the project included Verizon Wireless,
Coca Cola Distributing, the Cullman Lionness Club, Cullman
County Library employees, friends of the Cullman County Public Library,
the City of Cullman Street Department, the Cullman
Rotary Club, and Cullman County Library Board Members.
| For more information on these programs and others, visit
the Cullman County Public Library at 200 Clark Street NE in
Cullman.. Also visit the library on the web at www.ccpls.com.
For more information about National Library Week, visit the Alabama
Library Association website at www.ala.org.