Library2Go to be unveiled

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Suffolk Public Library’s Bookmobile is ending a 36-year run delivering books on Saturday. (Submitted Photo)

The Suffolk Public Library’s Bookmobile is ending a 36-year run delivering books on Saturday. (Submitted Photo)

It’s the end of the final chapter for the Suffolk Public Library’s Bookmobile, which has logged 136,432 miles delivering books to outlying areas of Suffolk for the past 36 years.

The Bookmobile officially retires on Saturday, when the library system kicks off National Library Week April 10-16 with a community celebration. The event will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W. Washington St.

Next week, Suffolk Public Library is also launching Libraries Transform, a national public awareness campaign that highlights the critical role libraries play in the digital age by providing free access to information and technologies.

Email newsletter signup

Library patrons will have a final chance to see the Bookmobile and a display of its history at Saturday’s event, said Angie Sumner, marketing and community relations coordinator for Suffolk Public Library.

People can also get their first look at Library2Go, a high-tech, mobile library that will hit city roads next week. For the first week, the library-on-wheels will visit sites across the city to give residents opportunities to see it. After that, Library2Go’s schedule will be updated regularly on the library’s website,

Besides carrying books, the Library2Go has a large, flat screen and an awning outside, as well as multiple outlets that allow it to serve as a community charging station for mobile phones, computers and other devices, according to Assistant Library Director Sarah Townsend. People will have to bring their own chargers, she added.

Library2Go has free wireless computers available for public use, a 3-D printer and other resources, she said.

Suffolk has brick-and-mortar libraries in downtown Suffolk, North Suffolk and in Chuckatuck. The staff views Library2Go as the city’s fourth library and will use it to expand library services to underserved communities, businesses and festivals throughout the city, Townsend said.

The Library2Go vehicle is 24 feet long — considerably smaller than the 36-foot-Bookmobile — and the driver is not required to have a commercial drivers license, Townsend said. The size of the Bookmobile prohibited it from going into some communities that will now be accessible, she said.

“Suffolk is so big … and there is so much ground to cover and such a diverse population,” said Townsend. “We needed something smaller, with more flexibility, so we can be out in more communities.”

Library2Go cost taxpayers $207,400, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

The library system will continue doing Pop-Up libraries — small, temporary libraries that have set up shop around the city for the past two years. The pop-ups are completely mobile, set up under tents and with laptops, Wi-Fi and crates of books available for checking out, Townsend said. The library’s community outreach department takes Pop-Ups to community events, festivals, neighborhoods, outside grocery stores and restaurants, and anywhere else crowds of people are expected.

The Pop-Ups have been a hit, especially when it comes to attracting new users, Townsend said. Within the first nine months, the library issued 800 new cards directly through the Pop-Up libraries, according to Townsend.

“They have been very successful … but they only provide a condensed version of our services and they are at the mercy of the weather,” Townsend said. “This Library2Go solves those issues.”

Today’s libraries aren’t just about books, she said.

“It’s all about access,” Townsend said. “We facilitate active learning and community engagement … and we adjust our programs to how people are learning.

“We are constantly looking for new ways we can stay in touch with the community.”

The library’s community outreach staff welcomes the public’s suggestions for places and events for Library2Go or Pop-Up visits, Townsend said. Requests for consideration can be made at

Library2Go’s debut schedule:

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 9, Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W. Washington St.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 11, East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. 6th St.
  • 4-6 p.m. April 11, Chick-Fil-A, 1018 N. Main St.
  • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 12, William H. Plummer Plaza/Belleville, 5520 Townpoint Road
  • 2-4 p.m. April 12, Chorey Park, 804 W. Constance Road
  • 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. April 13, Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W. Washington St.
  • 4:30-6 p.m. April 13, Suffolk Family YMCA, 2769 Godwin Blvd.
  • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 14, Lake Prince Woods, 100 Anna Goode Parkway
  • 1-4 p.m. April 14, North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road
  • 10 a.m.-Noon April 15, Health & Human Services Building, 135 Hall Ave.
  • 2-5 p.m. April 15, Food Lion, 2815 Godwin Blvd.