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Bookmobile a book-lover’s boon to West Miami-Dade

The county’s bookmobile program is a boon to veteran bookworms and young readers alike.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Herald
After school on a recent Thursday, Olympia Heights second-grader William Muñoz and his father Guillermo Muñoz searched through a vehicle packed with books hoping to find a good read.

“I like reading a lot,” said William, 8, who picked out books alongside his 11-yearold sister, Raiza.

The Muñozes were one of many residents living at Spring Tree apartments, 10355 SW 40th St., who came out last month to check out the books ferried around via the Miami Dade County Public Library’s bookmobile program. Anyone with a Miami-Dade Public Library System library card can access the bookmobiles, which make various stops around the county each week.

Guillermo said having the bookmobile is an educational benefit for his children.

“Kids now a days are on PlayStation, but they need to read to increase their vocabulary,” he said.

The bookmobile is stationed at Southwest 103 Avenue between 39th Street and Bird Road each Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. and offers books, DVD’s, audio books and compact discs featuring world and classical music.

The county has two bookmobiles that make a total of 44 stops Monday through Saturday.

Victoria Galan, spokeswoman for the public library system, said the bookmobile is like having the library on wheels.

“This is an extremely important effort because it reaches patrons who may not have easy access to physical libraries,” said Galan. “It literally brings the library to the people and the library is about people.”

The vehicle carries more than 1,000 books and is staffed by a driver and a library assistant. For library card holders, there are fiction and non-fictional books in Spanish, English and other languages. Book requests are also welcomed. Also, there are about 300 DVD’s, which include everything from blockbuster films to documentaries. Most books may be borrowed for a period of 28 days and videos may be borrowed for a period of 7 days. There are late fees, and books checked out on the bookmobile can be returned to any county branch library.

It was only fitting to stationed the bus in the area, said County Commissioner Javier Souto, whose district includes the 500-unit Spring Tree complex.

“It is a complex I visit,” said Souto, who chairs the county’s recreational activity committee. “Many people are seniors or are ill. Some don’t have mobility and they can’t come to the library.”

For Raiza, the bookmobile will giver her a chance to explore new titles – and save her parents a car trip.

“It’s better because my parents have a lot to do,” said Raiza, who checked out a children’s book featuring frogs. “I can come over and read.”

For more information about the library’s bookmobile program, call 305-480-1729.

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