SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– The Lackawanna County bookmobile is making sure everyone can curl up with a good book, no matter what the weather looks like this summer.
The Lackawanna County library system has been reaching out to those communities that would otherwise have to go to extensive lengths to get books and other media for the better part of a century. The current bookmobile has been visiting schools, daycares, senior centers and more for the past two decades.
Joe Karp has been behind the wheel for the last 15 years. He noted people ask him how he drives the giant bus, but as a retired dairy farmer and public servant, “I’ve never had a problem driving. I enjoy that. I enjoy meeting all the people that we meet. Every day is different, every stop is different,” said Karp. “At the daycares that we go to, the kids come out here and they love it.
On top of plush mascots, the bookmobile has children’s titles and other media geared towards everything down to toddlers. Older children have practical texts to peruse. The other large clientele base is the assisted living centers.
“Most of our senior citizens will take large-print books out because they are easier to read,” he said.
A fair amount of the seniors know the bookmobile staff and will coordinate between visits and online to assure the bus has what they want when it arrives. Everyone on the list of roughly 80 stops a month has an opportunity to come away from their visit satisfied.
“These people that are in here or daycares, they would never get to a library. They just wouldn’t get to a library so we come to them. We bring books to them. Anything they would like, we furnish,” Karp said.
At the end of the day, Karp loves getting out to communities that would otherwise struggle to use the library system as much as the work he does behind the wheel.
“I love the people, love to work with the people I deal with. The library’s really easy to work with,” added Karp. “My helpers–I guess you could call them my helpers, maybe I’m their helper. I don’t know for sure.”
No matter where they go or who they visit, there are certainly worse ways for Karp to enjoy his retirement.
“I also get paid for it. I enjoy doing it. It’s a retirement plan and it works [well],” he said.
To make requests for your closest stop or see when and where the bookmobile is heading, you can visit the Lackawanna County Library System’s website.