Bookmobile back in service

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Harlan County Public Library’s Bookmobile has been a familiar site in Harlan for decades, but recent developments left the program parked for about six months. The Bookmobile is now back in operation.

Harlan County Public Library Director Richard Haynes explained the Bookmobile’s absence was due to a health issue faced by the former Bookmobile librarian, Joanne Boggs.

“While we were waiting for her to recover, she came to us and said…she wanted to step aside,” Haynes said. “So we’ve transferred her to a (different) position and promoted Jennifer Moses to the Bookmobile position.”

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According to Haynes, Moses is currently learning the route. He added the Bookmobile had suffered some mechanical problems which had to be addressed before putting it back on the road.

“We had a couple of mechanical issues,” Haynes said. “We had to service the generator, we had a water pump leak we had to get fixed…We had the repairs done and its back in service now.”

Haynes said the Bookmobile services all of Harlan County.

“It takes three weeks to go all around the county,” Haynes said. “They hit all the elementary schools, they take books to the elementary teachers…They have libraries in the schools, but this gives them a little bit more variety of books available to the kids.”

Bookmobiles have been in operation in Kentucky for decades.

“Bookmobiles have been an ongoing thing since the pack-horse librarians in eastern Kentucky,” Haynes said. “Before we had good roads, there were people on horses that would take books around to the different communities.”

Haynes explained the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives made it possible for many libraries to obtain bookmobiles.

“They paid the upfront costs and put them on the road,” Haynes said. “We’ve had one back into the seventies for sure. It is our rolling library. It visits every community in the county. You can call for an appointment, and if she can turn around she’ll come to your house. That’s our only rule; the Bookmobile has to able to get back out.”

The Bookmobile also makes regularly scheduled stops. The Bookmobile’s schedule can be found online at

Haynes said the Bookmobile operates 12 months a year, weather permitting. A library card is required, but there is no charge to check out materials.