The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

January 16, 2014

Public library prepares to launch bookmobile

By Cheryl Keenan

OAK HILL — “Thank goodness for the levy,” Judy Gunsaulis, director of Fayette County Public Library, said last week as she guided a visitor around the county’s new bookmobile.

Gunsaulis also thanked the State Board of Education for making the full allotment suggested by the State Library Commission to Fayette County on behalf of the FCBOE.

“That really made a difference,” she said.

Between the library levy approved by county voters and the allotment from the BOE, Gunsaulis said the county library’s dream of resurrecting the bookmobile took only two years.

The bookmobile, which was constructed by Matthews Specialty Vehicles in North Carolina, cost about $130,000, with another $60,000 spent to supply books to fill its spacious shelves.

“It’s costing us about $250,000 to start off and it will probably take about $100,000 a year to maintain,” Gunsaulis said, “(but) the patrons are changing the way they use the library.

“We felt we needed to go more to the patrons (and) we’re going to run it every day.”

Blake Feazell, a retired postmaster from Scarbro and longtime library patron, has been hired to operate the bookmobile, which will travel to schools around the county, as well as senior citizen centers and other community sites.

“We will fit (the community stops) in, but we have to get the schools scheduled first,” Gunsaulis said. “As soon as we get the kids’ library cards ready, we’re good to go.”

A definite schedule is yet to be determined, but will be announced as soon as it is available.

Gunsaulis said plans call for the bookmobile to make stops in places like Corliss, Russellville and Nallen as well as more populous communities.

“We want to try to provide service to people who haven’t had it traditionally,” she said.

Aside from books for both children and adults, the bookmobile also features LED lights, wi-fi and a generator.

Gunsaulis is nearly as excited about the outside of the vehicle as she is about the inside.

When making plans for the bookmobile’s design, the librarian said she remembered a poster by portrait artist Wendy Wassink of Fayetteville which had been used before by the American Library Association for a campaign.

“I was scared to death to call her. I thought it might be an insult to say ‘I want to put your artwork on a truck,’ but she was so nice and didn’t even charge us,” Gunsaulis said.

Wassink said she was thrilled to allow the county public library to make use of her painting.

For more on the bookmobile, Wassink’s art and the public library, see upcoming editions of The Fayette Tribune.

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