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A car for books? Shafter approves purchase of bookmobile

A car for books? Shafter approves purchase of bookmobile
Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 09, 2023
  • At Tuesday's Shafter City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a bookmobile for the city's library. The purchase is funded by ARPA funding and the library hopes the vehicle will be ready by the summer of 2024.
  • Shafter Education Partnership director David Franz said he's excited to provide the community more opportunities to access the library's tools. In the early phase of planning for the bookmobile, Franz said there are tentative plans to stop in La Colonia, Smith's Corner and at Veterans Park.
  • Franz also noted that increased access to books in a community helps increase literacy.


Next year, there’s a chance you’ll see a new library addition rolling around Shafter and the surrounding area next summer after the city council approved the purchase of a bookmobile by the library.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase using funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act. The goal is to provide library access to those who find it cost or time prohibitive to drive into the core of Shafter to go to the library.

“This is going to make it easy for folks to request books in in neighborhoods that are that are far away from the library. And then we can deliver those on a weekly basis to a central location,” said David Franz, Shafter Education Partnership director.

The bookmobile also has the potential to help the community..

“One of the biggest factors in terms of life success, but also, you know, success in in tests .. is just access to books,” said Franz.

“Kern County is suffering significantly from the the impact of COVID and so you can see that across the county, the data showing that English language attainment is very, very low,” said Ian Anderson, executive director for the Kern Literacy Council.

Looking at state education data on English literacy from the Richland Union School District in Shafter, pre-pandemic literacy rates were climbing marginally, but according to most recent data, students are struggling. With nearly 50% of students in the district not meeting the state English/Language Arts standards.

Now that the purchase has been approved, it’ll be like having another branch of the Shafter library, just on wheels.

“We've spent some time making plans coming up with policies of, you know, what's the best way to use this, looking at other libraries. And we feel like the, you know, having a regular route is going to make it useful for people. It's almost like a like a like a branch that they can count on that it's going to be at the park every Wednesday”

Now don’t expect the bookmobile to be rolling down the street in the near future, but the library hopes to have ready by next summer.

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