Grant from Steelcase Foundation allows Kent District Library to bring back the Bookmobile

Kent District Library is pleased to announce that it has received a $208,000 grant from the Steelcase Foundation to design and offer a bookmobile to the KDL community.


This mobile library will enable KDL to bring its services and programming to Kent County residents who can’t travel to one of its 18 branches on a regular basis. When it hits the streets in winter 2018, it will be equipped with a vast assortment of collection materials for both children and adults.


The bookmobile, which will take 6-9 months to craft, will be outfitted with Wi-Fi, a video screen, a computer, printer, and modular shelves. The vehicle will also be handicapped accessible and will offer security features


“The Steelcase Foundation chose to support the new KDL bookmobile because of its alignment with the Foundation’s mission of empowering people to reach their full potential by encouraging early learning experiences, family literacy and improving access to books, programs and computer learning throughout Kent County,” said Steelcase Foundation President Julie Ridenour. “While not a new concept, the bookmobile will take these opportunities to the communities where they are most needed. The Steelcase Foundation hopes there will be a future time when today’s young and new readers will share their bookmobile experiences with their own families.”


The bookmobile will allow Kent District Library to share its programs and collection with patrons, particularly students, beyond the walls of the branch library. KDL will partner with Kent School Services Network, or KSSN, to bring the bookmobile to seven elementary schools each week. The bookmobile will also bring the library to senior centers, rural centers, summer day care programs and a variety of other locations.


“KDL is thrilled to offer library services and programs that can help improve our students’ reading ability through this partnership with KSSN,” said Linda Krombeen, development manager for Kent District Library. “We are extremely grateful to the Steelcase Foundation for its generosity in making this effort a reality.”


One of KDL’s goals in offering the bookmobile is to increase reading proficiency in third grade students. In 2016, 50 percent of Kent County third graders were not proficient in English language arts.


“The Kent School Services Network is very excited to partner with the KDL on the Bookmobile grant,” said Carol Paine-McGovern, executive director of KSSN. “Bringing access to library programs and collections to schools is a community school strategy that will have a positive impact on early literacy and parent engagement.”


Kent District Library will seek donations to fill the bookmobile with books and other materials.