A mobile library finds a home In Spanish Lake | St. Louis Public Radio

A mobile library finds a home In Spanish Lake

Mar 15, 2015

A new traveling library is calling Spanish Lake home. St. Louis County Library's Sweet Reads Program has graduated from minivans to a bookmobile.

Tyra and Jamyra Clark search for books in the new Sweet Reads Bookmobile.
Credit Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Started in the summer 2013, the Sweet Reads program delivers books to Spanish Lake, a library desert.

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.

Many of the donated books for the Sweet Reads program come from Half Price Books.
Credit Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

“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. 

The new Sweet Reads Bookmobile stops in eight locations in Spanish Lake.
Credit Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

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. 

MONDAY:

T-Doggs Tattoo

12149 Bellefontaine Road

9-11:30 a.m.

Shop n' Save  

196 Mayfair Plaza

1-3:30 p.m.

TUESDAY:

Parking lot

Highway 270 and Bellefontaine Road

9:30 a.m. - noon

Parking lot

—Redman and Lusher roads

1:15 - 3:30 p.m.

THURSDAY:

St. Peter's Church  

1120 Trampe Ave.

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Phillips 66  

12188 Bellefontaine Road

1:15 - 3:30 p.m.

FRIDAY:

Economy Inn  

1375 Dunn Road

9-11:30 a.m.

Commuter Lot

Lilac Avenue and Dunn Road

1-3 p.m.