Boyle County Public Library receives Bookmobile grant award

Published 3:19 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Boyle County Public Library (BCPL) is a recipient of a $3,000 grant from the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation (LLCF), which awards grants to organizations that operate a lending bookmobile that travels into neighborhoods populated by underserved and at-risk youth. The grants are for purchasing children’s fiction or nonfiction books.

The grant was applied for by the Outreach Services team in 2023 after reviewing data collected about bookmobile usage. Grants between $500-3,000 are awarded yearly. BCPL is extremely pleased to have received the full amount to update, expand, and diversify the current permanent Outreach collection of materials on the bookmobile.

“The Outreach department is excited to bring a large selection of new titles onto the bookmobile simultaneously,” said Daniel Aken, incoming Outreach Services Manager. “The materials added with the support of the LLCF grant represent a variety of genres that have proven to be popular with the children who visit the bookmobile and they have been carefully selected to appeal to that demographic.”

Email newsletter signup

The bookmobile serves as a mobile branch of the library. In the summer of 2021, BCPL rolled out a new service called “Sweet Reads.” Available through the Lottie Ellis Bookmobile, Sweet Reads is a collection of new and used library materials that can be checked out without a library card. This program is an effort to remove any barriers from children and families being able to have library books in their homes.

The need for the worry-free program became apparent when library staff noticed that some parents were reluctant to get a library card for their children due to concern that the children would not take proper care of the books and they would then have to pay to replace the borrowed items. Since many of the areas that the outreach team serves are on fixed incomes, most would not have extra money to replace lost or damaged books.

In the past, families and children who didn’t have a library card would be unable to check out library materials from the bookmobile. For those patrons, outreach librarians would instead offer a crate of free, uncatalogued books for the children to choose from. The collection, however, was limited and only ensured that the children did not go away empty handed. With the implementation of Sweet Reads, the collection of materials was increased so that 50% of the bookmobile collection books are outside the regular circulating collection and can be borrowed without a library card.

This honor-based lending system removed the fear of fees, and patrons of all socioeconomic backgrounds are able to freely enjoy the library’s services. The use of the bookmobile has increased significantly and there has been an excellent rate of return on these borrowed books.

The library’s intention was to create a stress free “onboard ramp” to help families embrace the idea of library lending. With an increase in the number of new library card holders, it seems that families now feel comfortable using a library card to check out books from the regular library collection. Outreach has found a way to bring new families into the library community, where they hope to cultivate a new generation of library patrons. The impact of even the youngest child being able to select their own books cannot be underestimated.

With the successful implementation and maintenance of Sweet Reads and the receiving of this grant, BCPL can turn its focus to the bookmobile’s permanent collection. Outreach staff will use these funds from LLCF to update, expand, and diversify the current cataloged Outreach collection of materials on the bookmobile, with the ultimate goal of advancing literacy and fostering a love of reading in underserved children and youth.

“This substantial addition to our collection will give our patrons a greater chance to access the books they’re seeking,” said Aken. “One of the best ways to promote literacy is to pair kids with the books that interest them. We can’t wait to get out and share our improved collection with the community!”

Additional information about outreach services and the Bookmobile schedule can be found on the library’s website, Anyone interested in arranging a visit from the outreach department may do so by calling the library at 859-238-7323 and asking for outreach services.