With a brightly colored van filled to the brim with carts of books, the Santa Maria Public Library debuted its mobile library service during a preview tour through the city Wednesday.
SMPL To Go, otherwise known as the Bookmobile, will bring library services to different parts of the city, allowing the public to access books, library card services, Chromebooks and Wi-Fi wherever it's parked.
The Bookmobile is funded through state and local grants.
"It's pretty much a miniature version of all the services we have now, just on the go," said librarian Dawn Jackson.
However, due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library is still awaiting city approval to allow people to enter the Bookmobile.
"We submitted a modification plan to the city ... a few weeks ago, but there's been no word yet," Jackson said.
Driven by librarian Stacy Brigman, the Bookmobile made its first stop at 11 a.m. at the Central Plaza Apartments on McClelland Street, followed by Ted Zenich Gardens, Evans Park, Preisker Park, and the Boys & Girls Club.
At Preisker Park, Santa Maria local Jessica Rodriguez checked out the van with her family, including her three sons, who peered inside at the books. She hadn't heard of the Bookmobile before the tour but said her children use the library frequently.
"I would take them there a lot to do homework," she said of her kids. "It's a big help, the library, with the computers and everything. Now with COVID, and the schools shut down and everything ... what else can we do? We just hope."
The Bookmobile also stopped at the Residences at Depot Street, the YMCA on Skyway Drive and Broadway Pavillion Shopping Center, before ending the tour at Rancho Hermosa.
Jackson said the route followed during the tour is similar to the route the Bookmobile will take during a normal week, with plans to be out four times per week at regular stops.
Santa Maria Public Library and its branches currently are open only for sidewalk pickup, also offering digital resources such as downloadable eBooks, movies, magazines and audiobooks, available 24 hours a day.
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