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So, what exactly is the Outreach Department? That is an excellent question. Outreach is the department that keeps the bookmobile on the road, organizes programs in the parks for summer school students, and delivers books to people who have a hard time making it into our buildings. Let's take a look at a day in the life of the KPL Outreach team!
The Outreach Team has a special office at the Northside Library that we call our workroom. All three of the Outreach vehicles live at the Northside Library. There is our Bookmobile, the Discovery Bus, the smaller book truck, and the Wifi van. At the start of each day, one of the first things we do is complete a safety checklist for each vehicle to ensure that we have a smooth ride during our time on the road.
We also help maintain our vehicles by ensuring they are neat and tidy, fueled up, and squeaky clean.
Every once in a while, our vehicles need a little more help than we can give them, and that is when we turn to our helpful City of Kenosha Transit team. Whenever you hear that we are off the road for repairs, odds are, our vehicle is spending a few days at the City of Kenosha Transit garage.
Once we know we are all fine-tuned and safe; the next step is making sure that all the right books are onboard. When people place a book on hold, it generates a list that we print off each morning. Some people like to place their holds online through the KPL website, and some want to put items on hold over the phone. We look for the books on the shelves in our workroom and make sure they are placed on the Bookmobile or go in a specific bin for delivery to other libraries.
Then we are finally ready to hit the road!
Every Bookmobile stop is open to the community. So, if you see us, you’re welcome aboard! We usually stop at schools and parks throughout Kenosha.
The Book Truck has an accessible lift, which makes it the perfect vehicle for our lobby stops. Lobby stops take place in our senior and assisted living communities. We get to set up a little browsing library right in their lobby. The lift allows us to welcome patrons who have different mobility needs onboard to browse the shelves, and it also comes in handy when we need to move our book carts on and off the truck for the lobby stops.*
The Outreach Department is also the hub for our home delivery service. Some community members can’t make it to the buildings to pick up their books, and they may live in places that do not receive lobby stop services, so we offer home delivery to those who qualify. We load those materials on Thursdays onto the van and take them to our expectant community members.
Things can get busy, but sometimes, when the weather is nice and schedule permitting, it’s nice to stop on the road for a lunch break.
And what’s going on back in the workroom at Northside? We call our patrons, let them know their holds are available, and verify the correct neighborhood stop they would like to pick them up. In the meantime, our Youth Outreach Librarian, Miss Lisa, has spent her day making reading enrichment and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) visits to student classrooms all over Kenosha. Right now, Miss Lisa visits virtually; otherwise, she packs up everything she needs to make learning fun and takes it right to the students!
As the day ends, the vehicles begin to make their way back into the garage. We tidy up, take out the trash, make sure all the books that were returned to us throughout the day make their back to the shelves where they belong, and turn out the lights before heading home for the day - ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
*Due to the need for social distancing and the extra precaution necessary when visiting our community members who may be most susceptible to COVID, our lobby stops are currently functioning as delivery stops. We hope to resume our regular lobby stops as soon as it is safe.