The Bookmobile, which serviced local communities, will no longer operate beginning next year because of a severe reduction in funding from the state.
A North Country source of literacy on wheels has been shut down.
The Bookmobile, run by the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System, will no longer be running as of the end of the year.
CEFLS director Ewa Jankowska said in a press release that the Bookmobile was a victim of the current economic climate.
“Deep and ongoing budget shortfalls are responsible for this decision, which was a hard one to make,” Jankowska said. “However, despite the fact that we did everything we could, including not filling two staff positions, and slashing our materials budgets each year, we were faced with no alternative. Unfortunately, we needed to make a tough decision between fulfilling our mission to provide services to member libraries or to continue the bookmobile service. Our current budget climate simply cannot support both.”
The Bookmobile takes a monthly route throughout the communities of the three counties which it serves. Stops throughout each month include the Saranac town hall, Cadyville fire station parking lot, Roderick Road Apartments, Morrisonville Post Office parking lot, St. Regis Falls Adult Center, Dickinson Center Fire Station parking lot, Moira Crossroads parking lot, Brushton Boltser’s IGA, North Bangor Post Office, Port Kent, Keeseville Country Gardens, Clintonville near Methodist Church, Ada Court in Cliff Haven, Winebrook Hills Citizens Bank parking lot, Newcomb School parking lot, Minerva town hall, Olmstedville four corners, Grover Hills Deli, Yandon-Dillon Center in Mineville, West Road in Witherbee, Moriah Fire Department, Pyramids Preschool in Morrisonville, Clinton County Seniors in Plattsburgh, Vilas Home parking lot in Plattsburgh, Flynn Avenue in Plattsburgh, Treadwells Mills, Lewis four corners, North Hudson town hall, Lord Howe in Ticonderoga, Chilson Community Hall, Lake Clear Post Office, Gabriels, Bloomingdale, Vermontville Post Office, Redford Church of the Assumption, Rouses Point, Beekmantown, Whippleville, North Star Industries, Constable, Westville, Fort Covington, Peasleeville, Peru, Ellenburg Center, Churubusco, Brainardsville and Lyon Mountain.
“The fact that this decision had to be made brings home the budget realities that libraries have been facing for the past decade, during which library state aid funding has been cut six times,” Jankowska said. “The numbers pretty much say it all.”
According to CFLS, reductions in New York State funding have amounted to a decrease of $290,348, or 21.81 percent from 2007 to 2011, while personnel benefits have increased by $91,936, or 33 percent during the same period.
The cost of running the bookmobile service in 2010 was $133,709.
The Bookmobile has been offered continuously since 1956, and it became an integral part of the program. It offers a full range of library services to more than 1,800 readers of all ages in the three-county area.
“Our patrons have really stuck with us through the years,” Driver Robert Welch stated as part of the press release. “We see quite a few grandchildren of kids that used the bookmobile while they were growing up. Our patrons are the best, and it’s obvious that our service will be missed.” stated bookmobile driver Robert Welch.
“The timing is especially unfortunate given the fact that two local book stores are closing,” Jankowska said. “It’s a sad time for readers in our region. We intend to work with member libraries to come up with a plan to provide library services to the residents that have traditionally depended on the bookmobile for their recreational and educational reading materials.”