Wonder on Wheels

Rural bookmobile delivers a treasure trove of material 

“I take the Bookmobile … anywhere I can entice people to read,” says Brenda Ivers.
Photo by Karin Strickland

Books are the lifeblood of any community, especially in rural places where easy access to a bricks-and-mortar library may not always be practical. Enter Brenda Ivers, behind the wheel of the Transylvania County Library’s Bookmobile. She’s on the county’s back roads five days a week “from Penrose to Sapphire,” but Bold Life managed to catch up with her between trips during a rare few hours off.

How long have you been on the road with the Bookmobile?

The library had an opening for the Bookmobile position in 2009. I applied for the job and was fortunate enough to be selected. Amazingly, I’ve been driving the Bookmobile around Transylvania County for almost 13 years now.

And you’re the Bookmobile’s only driver?

I’m the only driver currently. There are a couple of staff members interested in learning more about the Bookmobile routes and the ins and outs of how to drive the vehicle, so I’ll begin to take them out on the road to start that process.

But somebody had to teach you, right?

I’d driven a bus many years ago and had some experience driving a few larger vehicles. The position doesn’t require a special license, but there are quite a few tricks to maneuvering the Bookmobile around the streets and roads of Transylvania County.

Ivers in the rows.
Photo by Karin Strickland

Do you stock the Bookmobile yourself?

I rotate a selection of books with the main library about every three months. Some of the rotations occur more often; it just depends on the use. I head into the main library shelves and make selections that I think my patrons will like and transfer them to the Bookmobile.

Do you have regular routes you follow each day?

I have the Bookmobile on the road five days a week, and my stops vary each day. Generally, I make two to six stops a day, and I make those stops all over the county. Some stops are for just an hour, others are for an afternoon. I also attend various county programs and special events — anywhere I can take the Bookmobile to represent the library and entice people to read.

Any favorite stops?

I think my favorite stops are the pre-school and school stops. I’ve been fortunate to meet pre-schoolers for the first time and then continue to see them year after year at their schools and special events. Seeing all those smiling faces is so wonderful, and the children are excited to select their own book to take back to their classroom.

What’s the best thing about the job for you?

That’s a tough one. I’m out in this beautiful county meeting and greeting our residents every day. I love seeing new people step into the Bookmobile and their amazement at the materials available. And I really enjoy seeing my returning customers. It’s nice to hear about their activities and the books they’re reading. I enjoy the Christmas parades in the county. It’s a fun day, and everyone’s happy to see the Bookmobile. I think I have the best job in the library.

To see a list of public stops, visit the Transylvania County Library events page, library.transylvaniacounty.org. 828-884-3151.

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