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Commissioner Sally Kost calls the Chatham Bookmobile a “Rolling Dinosaur”

By Tom West
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - Glad Mark Barroso had a chance to capture one of the last rides of the Chatham Bookmobile. A bookmobile, that county commissioner Sally Kost so unkindly referred to as a “rolling dinosaur” at the June 3, 2010 commissioners’ meeting.

During the 2010-11 budget process, the bookmobile was part of the consideration for discontinuance upon the opening of the new library. Chairman Sally Kost stated that as part of the budget recommendation that was presented to the Board in May, staff made the recommendation to take the resources that were used for the bookmobile and to use those to help offset some of the costs for the new Chatham Community library.

Sally Kost stated that as part of the budget that was presented, the Board added seven and one-half positions to open the new library and approximately $360,000.

Commissioner George Lucier stated that there were no surprises in terms of what was proposed to them in terms of costs for opening the new library; that the only thing the Board questioned was the bookmobile itself.

Mr. Elliott asked if the bookmobile was really eliminated for dollars. Commissioner Lucier stated, yes. Sally Kost stated that it was dollars, too.

Sally Kost stated that in the discussions that they had during the budget work sessions, they learned that there were stops in Siler City for the bookmobile; that she questions that because there is a branch of the library in Siler City; that although it may be convenient for someone to go to the bookmobile in Siler City, she thinks those of the kinds of questions they have to ask as to efficiency; that they are talking about cutting the hours or schedules which are kinds of things they are going to review.

The County Manager stated that he doesn’t think there was a consultant that said the library should be in north Chatham; that the site was always to be on the Pittsboro Campus because of the partnership with the Central Carolina Community College for that library; and that adding to the long-term plan from staff perspective is some of the developments in the northeast develop, they have been talking, with Briar Chapel, about space for a branch library.

Commissioner George Lucier stated that the County Manager was absolutely correct; and that the conditional use permit that was granted to Briar Chapel includes a library there.

Commissioner Lucier pointed out that the Library was next to the Community College, so students probably would migrate to it. It is also close to the Senior Center, he said.

Ms. Clark provided some history on bookmobiles, and said the Chatham County vehicle had declined since the 1970s. With the new library, and with people able to travel now, it would be best to consolidate their resources and encourage people, particularly children, to come in and have a relationship with the Library, she said.

Commissioner Lucier asked Ms. Clark if she thought day care centers would load kids up and take them to the Library. Ms. Clark replied that she thought they would. Commissioner Lucier said he thought that was more problematic, and Ms. Clark replied that transportation could be a bit of a problem. She talked with Friends of the Library about a project to deliver books to daycare centers that request them, she said.

According to a Sanford Herald article, a study showed that 536 people used the bookmobile in the past 12 months, and 222 also used another library.

In the article Commissioner Sally Kost said she would be impacted herself, as her home is a 44-mile round trip from Pittsboro. This is a strange illogical statement. Since Sally has to attend various county functions in Pittsboro as a county commissioner, she might just want to plan a little better and make a little extra time for herself to stop off at the brand new Chatham Community library on the CCCC Pittsboro campus and pick up the books she may be interested in.

Unfortunately the Abundance Foundation failed to muster much community support and *raise anywhere near the amount of money needed to keep the bookmobile running. *

The Chatham Bookmobile, which Sally Kost called a “rolling dinosaur” may be a thing of the past, but options are being considered to have the library serve the needs of more patrons.

At the June 1, 2011 commissioners’ budget meeting mention was made that the Chatham library is in the process of exploring offering e-books, Nooks or Kindles, so that people can get their material that way. In working with volunteers and with the Friends of the Library, they are looking at providing a volunteer program so that elderly and shut-ins, people who can’t or don’t have transportation could get access to materials.

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