Soon after Donna Jakocko moved to 10 years ago, she noticed a curious sight—a large white van parked at the corner of her street.
It was the book mobile. After a quick peep inside, she was hooked.
“I think it’s awesome,” Jakocko said. “It’s a library on wheels right outside your front door. We definitely didn’t have anything like this in Chicago.”
The library's book mobile started in 1999 through a Library Services and Technology Act grant. It’s in motion through the summer months—Monday through Thursday—and makes 44 regular stops at neighborhood parks and street intersections throughout Tinley Park and Orland Hills. Special delivery for the homebound is also available.
A devoted fan, Jakocko regularly brings popcorn to book mobile drivers, as a way to thank them for their services. This act of kindness has given her the nickname, “The popcorn lady."
“The book mobile offers a great variety of reading materials, music and movies for children and adults,” Fran Heineman, outreach services manager for the Tinley Park Public Library, said.
Besides stocking up on weekly reading materials, library gurus can take advantage of other services such reserving the latest best seller, renewing their library cards, and returning books—even from another library. Overdue books? Don't worry, the book mobile can take care of that, too.
Rylee Trojan, 8, said he looks forward to the book mobile’s weekly stop at Gore Park.
“I like that there are so many books to choose,” she said, adding that Judy Moody and Stink as her current favorites.
Special reading programs and summer activities like “Stories on the go” have made the book mobile a weekly gathering place for many families. Heineman said about 7,000 patrons boarded the mobile last summer and she hopes that number continues to grow.
In the age of downloadable titles and electronic readers, Heineman gave her best reason for visiting the library and its mobile extension.
“There’s still nothing like a good book,” she said.
Interested? Check out the Book Mobile’s routes and weekly schedule.