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MILLERSBURG -- The library is a special place in any community, and being able to bring the library services to those who can't make it into town is part of what make Holmes County's library on wheels, the bookmobile, such a great asset to the community.
"A lot of the things we do make a difference in the community," Holmes County Public Library Director Bill Martino said. "This enables us to extend our library out to the nether regions of the county."
The Traveling Bookshelf originally hit the roads of Holmes County in April of 1958, providing much needed access to library services to schools and individuals.
Purchased using federal funds, Holmes County was one of the first five bookmobiles put into operation in the sate of Ohio.
"For more than 50 years, the Holmes County District Public Library's Bookmobile Department has continued to deliver outstanding library services to the residents of Holmes County," Martino said. "Our bookmobile program has a national reputation for excellence. With more than 80 years of combined experience our staff is recognized as experts in library service to rural populations."
The cost of providing this service has gone up by an average of 8 percent annually, while state funding has decreased by more than 25 percent since 2009.
"This greatly impacts our ability to meet the needs of our patrons today," Martino said. "We can no longer save and effectively plan for future needs. Preschoolers, students, families, senior citizens and the disabled need and depend on this unique service to connect to the wider world with both educational and recreational materials.
"We are currently in need of a new bookmobile," Martino added. "The Bookmobile we're trying to replace is from 1994 and it actually has parts falling off as we drive it down the road. It's definitely time. The Holmes County commissioners generously allocated $100,000 toward the purchase. We are asking the citizens of Holmes County to help us raise the remaining $150,000."
The donations are tax deductible.
"To raise these funds, we will be holding fundraisers around the county, targeting local businesses to ask them all to consider donating as well," Martino said. "Businesses that donate $10,000 or more will have the name of their business printed in the back. Your donation will ensure that quality service in Holmes County will continue for years to come."
Commissioner Ray Eyler says a Bookmobile gives senior citizens an opportunity to get to a library close to them.
"I am so glad we can do that," Eyler said. "The bookmobile was in existence when I was little. The local schools didn't have big libraries, so it provided kids with an opportunity for research and other things."
"The library's bookmobile program is one of the things that makes Holmes County a great place to live," Holmes County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shasta Mast said. "Serving parochial schools, retirement homes and rural communities, the bookmobile takes books directly to the folks for whom traveling is difficult."
"The Bookobile provides a vital service in helping us educate our students at Chestnut Ridge School by providing access to materials that they may not be able to get at our school," Principal James Luneborg said.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.