[dfads params='groups=4969&limit=1&orderby=random']

10-year-old launches drive to save Bookmobile


October Hamilton and her brother Tuxin at their petition booth in Smith’s. She also designed and colored the T-shirts with felt tip pens.

By Rick Sherman
Sun Advocate Reporter

“Would you like to sign to save the Carbon County Bookmobile?” That question greeted shoppers at Smith’s Food and Drug Saturday afternoon. Ten-year-old October Hamilton said she started a petition drive to save the Bookmobile because, “There’s no library in East Carbon and the Bookmobile will help kids to read during the summer.” She started the effort at her Little League game Thursday after learning of the decision by watching the Commission meeting on YouTube.
October and her little brother, Tuxin Allen spent a few hours of their Saturday gathering signatures at the store along with their mother, Sarandon Hamilton. She said of her soon-to-be six year old, “He’s autistic, he has ADHD and he can’t sit still for two seconds. But you hand him a book and he’ll sit down and read the whole thing.” And she declared, “It’s a big deal in the community, especially out in East Carbon. We don’t want to lose the program.”

Multi-media campaign

The grass roots movement to rescue the Bookmobile also includes flyers and social media posts advising the public of the decision to pull county funding from the program, and encouraging phone calls to the Commission Secretary to protest the decision.
The Carbon County Commission voted against renewing the contract with the Utah State Library Division and the county’s contribution that helps fund the local bookmobile. The unanimous vote took place during the regular commission meeting of June 7.
During a review and discussion prior to the vote, County Clerk/Auditor Seth Olsen provided the numbers: a contribution of $98,400 was made last fiscal year for bookmobile services throughout the county, and this year’s contract, which would be effective July 1, called for a contribution of $99,800.
Commissioner Casey Hopes posed a rhetorical question about local funding for the bookmobile. He asked, “Why is the county the only entity, if this is providing services for East Carbon, for Helper, for other communities and for the schools, why are we the only entity that’s paying into this?”

Program not cost-effective

Commissioner Jae Potter explained his rationale in making the motion that the contract not be renewed. He said, “Because of the number of stops they do make, it’s a very expensive program with limited books, limited exposure, especially where every school has a library. We have a public library. We are able to download and read online.”
Commission Chairman Jake Mellor stepped down to second the motion. He summed up, “Hopefully at a future date we can enter into more conversations with those other benefiting parties in the county and hopefully bring that back, but at the current time, I don’t believe we have the funding and revenue sufficient to justify its use.”

Funding cut could doom program

Utah Library Division Director and State Librarian Donna Jones Morris said the bookmobile is funded by the state and the counties, but the loss of county funding would result in the complete elimination of the bookmobile service. She said it would mean lost jobs too, but couldn’t comment further on personnel matters.
Morris pointed out the elimination of service would also have a severe impact on the Helper Library, which is the bookmobile’s home base. It provides the library with internet service and a circulation system, and also supplements staffing.
Morris could not immediately say how much funding the state allocates for the Carbon County Bookmobile, but said the state also provides staff, supervision and technical support.
Morris said she is endeavoring to provide the Commissioners with more information on what services the bookmobile provides, and what the value is to Carbon County residents.
In the past 11 months, some 31,837 items have been checked out from the bookmobile by 2,900 card holders in Carbon County, according to figures cited by Morris. And she pointed out the wireless WiFi internet service to stops in outlying areas is extremely important because most job applications now must be filled out online. What’s more, she said the cost of operating the bookmobile is a lot less than having a brick and mortar library at all the locations the bookmobile serves.
In addition to the thousands of books on board, the bookmobile has access to 32,000 books, audio books, dvd movies, iPads, and laptop computers. There are about bookmobile 20 stops around the county from Scofield to East Carbon, including five schools.
Morris emphasized that because of her position with the state, she can only provide information and can’t advocate. She acknowledged, “I know your Carbon County Commissioners are doing the best they can with the dollars they have. But if there’s a way of reducing the cost of the service and yet maintaining the integrity, we’re willing to work with the county on whatever model is possible.”

[dfads params='groups=1745&limit=1&orderby=random']
scroll to top