Over the weekend of October 12-14, I was lucky enough to attend the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee. As I was approaching War Memorial Plaza on Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but notice this huge truck taking up almost an entire city block.
It turns out that the Digital Bookmobile is a 74-foot, 18-wheel tractor-trailer that travels around the country to different libraries to promote awareness of and access to digital resources.
According to the Bookmobile’s website, the vehicle, which has been in existence since 2008, ”creates an engaging download experience around the host library’s digital media collection and ‘Virtual Branch’ download website.” In addition, “The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high-definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players.”
The inside of the Digital Bookmobile is divided into several different sections. In the Digital Catalog section, patrons can learn how to download digital items and browse the library’s digital collection. Audiobook Alley is the place where people can browse through the library’s audiobooks, listen to excerpts, learn how to use the OverDrive Media Console, and download sample titles to their personal MP3 players.
Meanwhile, over in the eBook Experience, patrons can try out eBook software and learn about the different eBook formats. The Video Lounge is a mini-theater right in the truck, showcasing the movies and films available for download at the library. Finally, the Gadget Gallery shows patrons what Smartphones, eReaders, and other devices are compatible with the library’s digital content, and features a number of popular devices for people to test drive.
The Digital Bookmobile is a great resource for a number of reasons. Many people aren’t aware of the great digital content available to them for FREE at their local library, and the bookmobile, in its gigantic glory, showcases each individual library’s digital collection.
Additionally, some library users may be aware that their library has a digital collection, but are hesitant to utilize it because they are uncomfortable with the technology. The Digital Bookmobile has informative videos that demonstrate how to access and use the digital collection, and even sample devices for patrons to try out themselves. If people are still hesitant, there are also friendly staffers on site to answer questions and help out.
Unfortunately, libraries aren’t open 24 hours a day, and sometimes, due to our own schedules, we just can’t get there during business hours. The Digital Bookmobile shows people that library content is available to them even if they can’t get to the library. With a library card and Internet access, they can download a number of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and movies, all at their convenience.
In a world that increasingly relies on technology, the Digital Bookmobile is a fantastic way to remind communities that libraries are a great place to find digital resources.