STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County's Bookmobile will be back in service on Jan. 12, more than a year after the old vehicle was sidelined due to mechanical issues.
The new Bookmobile, purchased at Farber Specialty Vehicles Inc., in Columbus, cost the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County a little more than $138,000.
"It's taken us a year to get a replacement," Library Director Alan Hall said. "It was funded through our regular operating budget we have a Bookmobile replacement fund we put money into every year so when the time comes we'll be ready."
SERVICE TO RESUME — Bookmobile service will resume in Jefferson County a little over two weeks from now. The new vehicle, purchased from Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, cost the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County a little more than $138,000. With the new vehicle are, from left, Farber engineers and Steubenville natives Bill Harlan and Anthony Macedonia; Library Building and Grounds Supervisor Bob DiBenedetto; and Bookmobile driver Lee Tate. - Contributed
The new Bookmobile is 20 feet long and is handicap accessible, with a lift in back that can be raised and lowered for people as well as book carts. It's also equipped with shelving so customers can go inside and browse the shelves.
"This one is different from the ones we've had in the past," Hall said. "This is the first one we've had since the 1940s that doesn't have a generator. Previously, they had generators that they'd work off of. This one has a bank of batteries that, as the engine runs, charges the batteries and that's what's providing the electricity."
He said the battery system is more economical as well as energy efficient than using generators.
"This one is running one engine, as opposed to two," he said. "And it's a smaller vehicle than we've had in the past. To replace one like we previously had would have cost well over $300,000."
Hall said the new vehicle is "more aerodynamic, has a more stylish look" than past models.
"It's really a neat looking vehicle with attractive graphics," he said.
A pair of Steubenville natives now working in Columbus had a hand in its design: Bill Harlan, son of Rosemary Harlan and a 1984 graduate of Catholic Central High School, is Farber's engineering manager; and Anthony Macedonia, son of Pat and Carol Macedonia and a 1997 Catholic Central graduate, is a mechanical design engineer there as well.
"They've both worked there for some time," he said, "and they were excited to be helping to manufacture a vehicle that would be used in their hometown."
As was done in the past, the Bookmobile will stop at nursing homes, senior citizen centers, day care centers and residential areas. Sitting behind the wheel will be Lee Tate, part of the Bookmobile staff for 28 years.
The Bookmobile will operate two days a week. A copy of the new schedule is available by calling the library at (740) 282-9782.