Plans for next summer on the horizon
by Reena Alsakaji
LANSING, Ill. (July 28, 2022) – From the shelves of the Lansing Public Library to the outskirts of playgrounds, 120 books can be found for check-out in several areas around Lansing. Set up by Andrew Harootunian, the Mobile Book Runner program was designed as a form of outreach in the community. The program ended July 28, though it set a foundation for Andrew to build on in future years.
Starting at the beginning of the summer, the Mobile Book Runner program offered local residents the opportunity to check out books and get a library card without ever setting foot into a library. Every Tuesday, Harootunian and his Lansing Public Library banner could be found at Lan-Oak Park from 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m., or Erfert Park from 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Set up at these parks were a desk and multiple baskets of books, ranging from children’s books to adults’. The mobile library was also available every Thursday from 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. at Winterhoff Park or 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. at Rotary Park.
“This is brand new for this year,” Harootunian said. “I started this job last year for outreach. I’ve been to all the schools. In the summer, I had a lot of time to think about how to do outreach for the village. So I was like, ‘I need to find a way to get books out into the community instead of people coming in.’”
Setting up the program went smoothly for Harootunian. Once he finalized approval from his director, gathering the books was not a problem. He did find, however, that his success rate varied by location in Lansing. Going to areas such as Fox Pointe, Harootunian found that many residents were interested in the eye-catching set-up. Park areas in the morning, though, had less of a turnout. As the program was set up by Harootunian himself, timing had to fluctuate around his schedule.
The program has ended for the summer, and Harootunian has plans to change it up next year. Next summer, he’d like to establish what he deems a “book bike.” This plan, he believes, will allow him to ride through more areas in Lansing and continue outreach in a more innovative and accessible manner.
“I’m pretty creative, and I’m an idealist, so I think that I wanted to just give it a shot,” Harootunian said. “I definitely think the mobile bike is going to be more successful next year. It is really, I think, going to help the people in the community just to be able to see, ‘Oh, there’s a library bike, we should go check it out.’”
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