Local News

Glen Ellyn foundation launches fundraising campaign for library on wheels

When a roving librarian visits students around Glen Ellyn, she hits the road in her red Subaru.

Problem is, it’s not the most efficient method of bringing the library to kids. Her car can hold only so many books and tables and everything else she needs to set up a portable library.

What’s more, her colleagues at the Glen Ellyn Public Library are making trips of their own to deliver materials to nursing homes, the YMCA, park district events and a host of other programs.

Hoping to expand their reach, the library’s charitable arm has launched an $80,000 fundraising campaign to purchase a van for a new bookmobile service.

“We already take a lot of materials and services and programming out into the community,” said Dawn Bussey, the library’s director. “But having a vehicle to actually transport all of that will make it much easier for us, which will in turn then allow us to do even more than we currently do.”

A library on wheels would provide access to books in underserved areas where seniors or families might have limited options for reliable transportation.

“We always hear that there’s a little bit of a dividing line at Roosevelt Road here in Glen Ellyn due to transportation issues,” Bussey said. “And so we’re already doing some programming south of Roosevelt Road, and we would certainly use the van to do more.”

The Glen Ellyn Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library have each committed $20,000 to start the campaign. Organizers are looking to raise the remaining $40,000 through community members and businesses.

The library estimates it’ll cost $80,000 to purchase the “outreach van” and equip it with shelving and a 5G Wi-Fi unit. A library logo also would be displayed on the side, promoting the mobile programming when the van is driving around town.

“When I go to the schools and bring materials or go for a program or a summer send-off or a parent night, I show up in my red Subaru, and nobody knows that the library is there,” school liaison Amy Waters said in a fundraising video.

Organizers have designed the campaign to be a year long. In celebration of the kickoff, the library will play host to an outdoor “Fall Fun Fest” with games and live music from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday in its Duane Street parking lot.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from vendors. Glen Ellyn-based musicians Ralph Covert and 7DEEZ, a Disco-funk-Motown tribute band, are set to perform. Proceeds will benefit the outreach van campaign.