Sacramento Public Library Goes Green(er) with Electric Bookmobiles

Mobile library visits communities throughout Sacramento County with limited access to libraries
August 18, 2023
The Library's new, all-electric vehicle is parked in front of a city park. The vehicle's graphics are bright green, dark blue and purple, and with words Sacramento Public Library Bookmobile, bringing the library to you."Sacramento Public Library hit the road earlier this summer with electric bookmobiles. The library on wheels visits local events and communities with limited access to libraries. Last year, bookmobiles logged over 10,000 miles visiting communities throughout Sacramento County.

The two new bookmobiles replaced the 25-year old diesel vehicles thanks to a partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and California State Library.

“We were long overdue for a change. The average bookmobile’s lifespan is 10-15 years,” said Cathy Crosthwaite, Sacramento Public Library Deputy Director. “This is one small way we can make an impact in our daily operations. Plus, the new EVs are so much quieter and provide a better experience for our patrons.”

The library’s Mobile Services team visits senior sites, residential communities, mobile home parks, and assisted living facilities. Our bookmobiles have served the community since 1948 and operate as mini libraries. Staff customize the collection based on the community’s preferences with materials in various languages, genres and formats. Library users can place items on hold over the phone or online to be checked out from the vehicle.

“It’s vital that we meet the community where they are and get outside of the library walls. Bookmobiles help us make those connections,” said Todd Deck, Sacramento Public Library Community Engagement Manager. “Our team does their best to reach folks that can’t otherwise get to a library. Bookmobiles also provide social interactions and help foster community between residents and the staff who deliver library services to them.”

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the library temporarily closed for a few months. The Mobile Services team was the first to resume library services and get back into the community. For many patrons, especially seniors, the bookmobile is one of the few social outlets they have in a month.

In 2022, Sacramento Public Library bookmobiles made nearly 800 visits circulating 35,800 materials including books, DVDs, hotspots and more. The library has two regular bookmobile routes. The family route, which focuses on children and families in apartment complexes and other affordable housing communities, visits 10 locations. The senior route visits more than 40 retirement communities, assisted living centers, and mobile home parks on a monthly schedule.

This program is funded in part by:

Blue Sac Metro Air District logo with a light blue wave of clean air. The words Clean Air for All appear below the logo.