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On the Road Again


Library techs helping kids at the mobile library in swan lakeBack in October, four JUSD buses were outfitted to provide library services to students during distance learning. After a successful trial run at the Swan Lake Community, the plan was to send the buses to multiple locations throughout the district.

Then COVID-19 infections rose in November, postponing the official run of the mobile libraries.

Anu Jindal, Library Technician for Del Sol Academy, was disappointed that the service could not move forward. Ms. Jindal was part of the library committee that planned the mobile library services, and she helped coordinate the trial run at Swan Lake. “It was a lot of fun planning for the mobile library and we were super excited about the whole concept, because this was our chance to go see the kids, get some books in their hands, interact with them, let them know we care,” she said.

Thankfully, the opportunity to resume came with improving conditions and the transition to in-person/hybrid instruction. Throughout April, mobile libraries were deployed to ten different locations. The buses ran Monday through Friday from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, and each day offered a choice between two stops. Schedules and maps were available via JUSD social media and the district website. 

John Allen with his guitar next to a mobile library sign
As with the trial run, Ms. Jindal was stationed at the Swan Lake stop, home to many Del Sol Academy students. She said the same kids visited every Wednesday, eager to check out more books. “The best part was definitely meeting the kids, meeting the parents,” she shared, “talking to them, letting them know we’re here, and getting books in their hands so they can read.”

After months of abundant screen time, parents were happy to see their kids holding books. “The parents were so thankful. The kids were so excited. It was really heartwarming,” said Ms. Jindal. “It makes our job worth it.”

At various stops, John Allen from Education Services brought out his guitar to perform a mobile library song. JUSD staff joined in, and the catchy tune featured the perfect lyrics for the occasion: “We’re going down to the library bus, picking out a book, check it in, check it out. Gonna say hi to the dictionary, picking out a book, check it in, check it out.”

“I think the students were ecstatic to see the mobile library,” said Ms. Jindal. On one occasion, a student showed up to her stop right at 3:30pm - the scheduled end time - and asked if it was too late to check out books. “We were more than happy to wait,” she said. 

Library techs in superhero spirit wearMs. Jindal would like to see the mobile library return in the future, but would prefer a dedicated mobile library day so library techs can devote their attention to the service without letting duties pile up at their school sites.

“You get to know the community better - you get to know the students better - in their own environment, in their element,” she said. “And I think it’s an amazing concept to take the books to the families and to get to know them better and to encourage them to read.”​