Library on Wheels

By Christine Volker

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Recently, I spent time with the bookmobile staff and their enthusiastic patrons. As the vehicle pulled up to the waiting throng, shrieks of excitement erupted among the kids. It was almost like a rock band was coming to town. Scrambling into the bookmobile, the kids fanned out, eager to find appealing volumes and to use their brand new library cards. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Minecraft, were in short supply, but Goosebumps and other in-demand titles were still available.

Kids traded recommendations, requested assistance, and expressed glee when they found one of their favorites. Viewing the joyful, book-hunting crowd, I thought to myself: this is how it should be. They’re building a skill and a habit for a lifetime.

Three intrepid staff bring the library on wheels to kids at sixteen stops. Many of the locations are far from the Main Library and its two branches; the approach answers the needs of kids who have no other opportunity to visit a library and borrow books, for their parents are working or have other commitments.

The bookmobile puts a smile on everyone’s face.

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The Richmond Public Library has had a bookmobile for as long as staff can remember. The current vehicle is twenty years old, but has a newer“wrap” or external decoration. Currently at capacity with respect to the stops they can make in four days, librarians spend four to six hours per day, in close quarters, helping patrons decide among the roughly 3,000 volumes.


During the summer, in addition to providing services to summer schools and recreation centers, the staff field tests new locations and determines the routes to take once schools open in the fall.

The bookmobile staff consistently demonstrated their positive energy and zeal while interacting with their small patrons.

I asked them for ideas on how to make the public’s bookmobile experience even better. Here’s what they suggested: iPads or Tablets for checking out books instead of using the computers would be helpful; a bigger book collection would go a long way, particularly including more copies of highly popular books —that way kids scheduled for stops later in the week can get to borrow them; and lastly, a bigger, newer bookmobile.



Financial Review – Friends of the Richmond Public Library

By Christine Volker

Here is a summary of where we stood at the end of our June 30, 2016 fiscal year:

Total Revenues: $15,713
Total Expense: $11,365
Net Income: $ 4,348
Total Assets: $41, 893
Total Liabilities: $ 0
Total Equity: $41,893

We greatly appreciate all memberships and donations! Please consider making a contribution before year-end.

Use the form on this website, and mail to our address below:

Friends of the Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804

Writers in Richmond?

By Christine Volker

Richmond is actually a hotbed of writers. On Saturday, December 3 from 2 4 p.m., local author, Margaret Murray, will discuss her new novel, Spiral and how she approaches writing. This will take place in the Whittlesey Room, adjacent to the Main Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza. The free talk is sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library.

The Arts of Point Richmond (AOPR) recently established a writers group. Heli Perrett, Chair of the Point Writers Group, contributed the piece below on their activities and points out the strong connections between libraries and writers.

From Heli Perrett

Point Richmond is the home of the West Side Branch of the Richmond Public Library system, which plays an important role in community life. The neighborhood is also the home of an unbelievable number of writers and published authors.

This became clear a few months ago when a writers group was established under the auspices of the Arts of Point Richmond (AOPR). News of the group’s formation generated a surprisingly large response. Membership had to be capped at 20 since the group meets monthly in members’ homes to better permit open and informal discussion.

Most group members have published one or more books and are actively writing others. Their books include historical novels, mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, romances, memoirs, short-story collections, poetry collections, self-help and health books. Members also write plays and screenplays. This is not the usual type of writing critique group. Rather, it meets to discuss key issues in writing, publishing, and marketing of books. Participants share their own experience and learning with one another. The goal is “writer-helping-writer.”

Outside the monthly meeting context, the Point Writers Group is also planning some joint book publicity and marketing activities, and will help and encourage each other at book launches, lectures, and similar events.

The group is also currently exploring how it can best collaborate with the Richmond Public Library, perhaps to donate books for special “local author” displays, do book launches and signings at local libraries, and in other ways. Suggestions are welcome.

Upcoming Events

Adult Craft Program on Winter Holiday Card Making

Thursday, December 1: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Main Library’s Whittlesey Community Room
325 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, 94804

All supplies provided free.

Margaret C. Murray discusses her book, Spiral, and the creation of this magical realism novel

Saturday, December 3

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room
325 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, 94804.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library.

Upcoming Events

Friends of the Richmond Public Library Board Meeting: Friday, September 23 at 12 noon

Main Library’s Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804 

As always, our board meetings are open to members.

Immigration Workshops: Monday, September 26 and Monday, October 3 from 5:00PM to 7:00 PM

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804

Have Immigration questions? This is an opportunity to speak to an attorney on a free and confidential basis. Sponsored by the Contra Costa County Bar Association.

Homework Help Program for Kids: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, August 30 to May 31, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804

September 16 and future Fridays/Saturdays: STEAM Programs for Kids: Call 510-620-6557 Children’s Room for more information. 

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804