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Library officials plan to replace ‘Buttercup’

When residents can’t get to the library, “Buttercup” comes to them.

She’s the big yellow truck otherwise known as the bookmobile, that brings books and magazines to rural parts of South Kitsap that can be several miles from the closest library.

“It’s just like a branch, only smaller, and on wheels,” said Carol Schuyler, Kitsap Regional Library’s regional services deputy director, explaining that not only can residents just walk on and browse when Buttercup visits, they can also have the truck deliver them books they request either on-line or on the phone.

But while Buttercup is still much-loved, she can’t serve her community like she used to, Schuyler said.

First of all, she explained, Buttercup doesn’t have a lot of space — only about six people can come inside and wander the shelves before it gets too crowded. More importantly, however, she said the bookmobile is a bit old, and more than bit behind the times — for example, there isn’t a computer in sight.

So the KRL is beginning a fundraising drive this year for a new and improved bookmobile, one that will hold twice as much materials and hopefully laptops for visitors to use, as well.

“It will look like a bus,” she said, explaining that the 29-foot vehicle should also be on the road five days a week instead of three, and be staying longer at each stop.

To purchase this new rolling branch, Schuyler said KRL will have to raise approximately $150,000 over the next year. And while she said the fundraising has not been launched in earnest yet, an SK group has already contributed a large sum to get the ball rolling.

Last week, the Friends of the Port Orchard Library donated $5,000 towards the new bookmobile. Branch manager Linda Thompson said the largely rural SK area depends heavily on the bookmobile, since a good portion of its residents live miles away from either her downtown branch or the Manchester location.

“I am so proud of this library’s Friends, as they could not be more generous,” Said Thompson, explaining that the group raises money a “nickel at a time” by selling books at her branch.

Currently, the bookmobile makes 27 stops every two weeks and provides books for children and adults, audio recordings, videotapes, current magazines and a reserve service for requested items.

For further information about the bookmobile service and its schedule, please call (360) 405-9123 or visit www.KRL.org.

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