A new traveling library is calling Spanish Lake home. St. Louis County Library's Sweet Reads Program has graduated from minivans to a bookmobile.
Vans filled with reading material travel to neighborhoods throughout the area. Most of the books given out are old library books or donated items. Last year more than 15,000 books were distributed through the program.
The Sweet Reads program was established to increase Spanish Lake residents' access to books. There is no branch in Spanish Lake and the neighboring libraries are across large highways.
This summer, the program operated out of two minivans. Last week the library rolled out a new Sweet Reads bookmobile.
“The community is really excited to see that we are back,” said Susan Clary-Cupini who works with the St. Louis County Library’s Sweet Reads program.
“The new setting in the bookmobile just makes everything so much easier. It’s a nice, new bright space, protected from the elements,” Clary-Cupini said.
Although the Sweet Reads program runs year-round, the workers had to take a temporary hiatus during the winter months, when they were still working out of vans.
Beyond protecting workers and visitors from the elements, the new unit also provides more opportunities for Spanish Lake residents.
Colleen Hall, manager of outreach services, says the mobile unit is a library in every sense of the word.
“It has books, the Sweet Read books, which they don’t need a library card to check out, but we also have the ability to bring materials from the library if they have library card,” Hall said. “And with this bookmobile they can get a library card.”
The new ride also includes speakers and an awning to create an outdoors space in nice weather. In addition, the bookmobile has several computers. Hall says they hope to offer small computer classes.
"We have more to offer now than we did before. Before we were offering what we could, now we have this whole amazing vehicle with so many opportunities," Hall said.
Hall says a mobile library for the people of Spanish Lake, in northeast St. Louis County, is the best option.
People have a lot of transportation issues,” she said. “We think the mobile library is a better solution than even building a branch. We can move around Spanish Lake and get close to where people live and work and shop.”
The bookmobile will move around to different locations. A full schedule courtesy of the St. Louis County Library can be found below.
12149 Bellefontaine Road
Shop n' Save
196 Mayfair Plaza
Highway 270 and Bellefontaine Road
9:30 a.m. - noon
—Redman and Lusher roads
1:15 - 3:30 p.m.
St. Peter's Church
1120 Trampe Ave.
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
12188 Bellefontaine Road
1:15 - 3:30 p.m.
1375 Dunn Road
Lilac Avenue and Dunn Road