SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 25, 2013

Auction a new chapter for bookmobile

BEVERLY — It’s a 1987 Ford with 108,401 miles and just as many stories.

The Beverly Public Library bookmobile, which lumbered through the city’s neighborhoods for 25 years delivering books to eager children and housebound elders, is for sale.

The bookmobile was shelved last year when the city bought a new one. It has been sitting idly in the library driveway ever since, displaced from its warm and safe spot in the garage by its $150,000 successor.

Earlier this month, the city put the old bookmobile up for sale on Municibid, an online auction site for government agencies to sell off surplus items.

“I’ll be sad to see it go,” said Linda Caravaggio, who drove the bookmobile from 1988, the year after it arrived, until last year. “I’ll miss it. There’s a lot of memories.”

As of last night, the high bid for the vehicle was $1,116. The auction closes Thursday at 9 p.m.

Library Director Pat Cirone said she’s gotten a couple of calls from one community that might be interested in starting a bookmobile program.

David Gelineau, the city’s purchasing director, said somebody else is thinking about turning it into a food truck.

“It’d be great for a caterer because it’s big and heavy,” he said.

Cirone said she has received calls in the past from people who expressed interest in using it as their own backyard library.

“I’m intrigued,” Cirone said. “Who’s going to wind up with it and why?”

Beverly is one of the few cities or towns in the state to have a bookmobile. When the old one started breaking down, the community rallied to raise $150,000 for a new one.

With Caravaggio still behind the wheel, the new bookmobile is on the road every Monday through Thursday, stopping at schools, assisted-living centers, parks and neighborhoods. It loans out about 66,000 items per year, nearly 17 percent of the library’s total circulation.

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