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Bookmobile to no longer be mobile

Screven-Jenkins Regional Library Bookmobile driver Barbara Gilbert will retire after more than 33 years of being involved with the library and the bookmobile. Gilbert’s retirement will also mark the end of the bookmobile era that started in 1952.
Gilbert’s declining health led to her announcing her retirement, and the library’s decreasing budget sealed the bookmobile’s fate.
Since 1952 the bookmobile has been across Jenkins and Screven County, delivering not only books but movies and other items requested. The last full year the bookmobile ran was 2012 to 2013, and during that time there were 6,502 items delivered with 4,056 visitors on the mobile library.
Regional Library Director Kathryn Youles said it was a hard decision to end the bookmobile, but due to a Board of Education funding cut in Jenkins County and Screven County’s limited budget it was no longer feasible.
If the bookmobile averaged 7,000 items delivered per year over the 62 year period of its existence it would be responsible for more than 430,000 items checked out from the bookmobile.
For the past year the library staff has been delivering books and items by their own vehicles. Gilbert, who was with the bookmobile before being the official driver as her family was involved with it, is having a retirement reception at the library Thursday, Aug. 28 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend. Those without vehicles or access to the library will have to find other means of checking out items as the bookmobile program will no longer exist.