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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Library bus books it to UA for visit

Robert Alcaraz
Robert Alcaraz/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Wade Zelenak, the Pima County Public Library Bookmobile driver, stands in the bus where he checks books out to students on the UA Mall on Oct. 4, 2011. Zelenak has been the Bookmobile driver for 16 years.

Once a month, the Pima County Public Library comes to you.

University Libraries and the public library partner to bring the Bookmobile, a library on wheels, to the UA Mall every month. Anyone in the UA community can apply for a library card, check out more than 6,000 materials and return materials that had been checked out from any other branch of the Pima County Public Library at the Bookmobile, according to Gabrielle Sykes-Casavant, the director of marketing and public relations for University Libraries.

Sykes-Casavant said bringing the public library to campus is a cost-effective and efficient way to bring reading material to UA students, faculty and staff. She said that last spring, the Bookmobile visited campus four times and had more than 150 customers. In addition, she said nearly 100 checkouts were made and more than a dozen UA community members signed up for public library cards in the 16 hours the Bookmobile was parked on campus.

“The benefits are to campus first and foremost,” she said. “You can get all your reading materials on your way to class, on your lunch break, and you can return all books to the mobile if you don’t have time to drop it off at the public library.”

Many first-time visitors to the Bookmobile went inside to see what materials it had.

Kate Maroney, a pre-computer science freshman, said she stepped into the moving library because she regularly checks out books since she came to college. Maroney said her visit to the Bookmobile inspired her to sign up for a public library card, because she wants to check out science fiction books.

“I will definitely come back for at least a few hours every time it (the Bookmobile) is here,” she said.

David Bradshaw, a graduate student in public administration, said he used to visit the public library over the summer but now does not “as much as he should” because he uses the university libraries. As a first-time visitor, he said he was “just browsing” the materials, but may come back to reserve items so they can be brought to him during the next Bookmobile visit.

“It’s a pretty nice service,” he said.

Though books are the Bookmobile’s biggest offering, users can also borrow magazines, DVDs and audiobooks on CD with a public library card. Additionally, individuals can request items from other Pima County Public Library branches for pick-up on the Bookmobile, according to Wade Zelenak, a library tech supervisor and Bookmobile driver for the Pima County Public Library.

Zelenak, who has been driving the Bookmobile for 16 years, said he enjoys the autonomy and changing scenery the Bookmobile offers him. He said his favorite part of driving it was surprising his “regular” customers with materials they might like.

The Bookmobile will be back on campus Nov. 8 and Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Mall near Old Main. Zelenak said the moving library makes 30 stops each month around the city, andhe visits each stop once per month.

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