Bookmobile meets needs of young readers once again

“If you are given lemons, make lemonade,” says Meeker Elementary School librarian Kay Bivens. Bivens did just that, with her students in three different buildings, she had a retired school bus converted to a bookmobile, which can transport more than 4,000 books to its weekly rounds to the middle school, administration building and high school.
“If you are given lemons, make lemonade,” says Meeker Elementary School librarian Kay Bivens. Bivens did just that, with her students in three different buildings, she had a retired school bus converted to a bookmobile, which can transport more than 4,000 books to its weekly rounds to the middle school, administration building and high school.

MEEKER I For 20 years, students in kindergarten through fifth grade traipsed through the school library, discovering foreign lands, different times, mythical creatures and fictional characters under the supervision of Meeker Elementary School librarian Kay Bivens.
When the new elementary school building was forced to close this year, the biggest question on the minds of most residents was where the schoolchildren would attend class. Moving desks and computers and supplies into the high school, middle school and administration building provided a temporary solution for the kids and their teachers, but it left Bivens with a logistics problem: If the kids can’t come to the books, how could she get the books to the kids?
“If you are given lemons, make lemonade,” Bivens said. “I wondered aloud (about a bookmobile) and it went from there. Everyone that was in authority worked together to make it happen.”
“I did the painting and made the pillow stools and decorated the inside. It was great to be involved with all the  brainstorming,” Bivens said.
The school district had a retired bus that was converted into a bookmobile that can transport more than 4,000 books. During the school week, the bookmobile bus visits the middle school, the administration  building and the high school. Elementary students attending class in the various locations visit the bookmobile during their library time each week to check out books.
“Climb aboard,” Bivens tells students from Becky Hughes’ second-grade class, “and the bus will take you anywhere.”
“How?” The children ask.
“By checking out a book and reading, you can go anywhere,” Bivens answers.
Bivens remembers an earlier bookmobile from her own childhood, and believes the elementary students of 2011-12 will look back on their bookmobile adventures with affection.
“The bookmobile has been a fond memory for those of us that grew up here during the years of 1950 thru 1970,” Bivens said. “Our first bookmobile was driven by Walt Keller. He drove a green GMC with a converted camper shell to house the books. There was a door on each side that was raised up so we could see all the books. Walt had a route from one end of the county to the other. He had a schedule so you knew what day he would come.”
The first bookmobile traversed the county’s rural neighborhoods: Marvine, Buford, South Fork, Miller Creek, Little Beaver and the Mesa, as well as Flag, Coal, Wilson, Strawberry, Piceance and Douglas creeks, the oil camps, areas around Rangely, and more.
“It was a very exciting moment in the life of the rural children when they knew it was time for the bookmobile,” Bivens said. “Mr. Walter Brown took over around 1958, until around 1970. He drove a red Ford. Mr. Keller and Mr. Brown always had  a Tootsie Pop sucker for each of their eager readers. Every child that lived in the county took advantage of this great service, for it was not always easy to get to town to use the public library.”
Aided by those early visits from the bookmobile, Bivens’ love of books and reading has spread to the students who have visited her in the school library for the past two decades. “I love my job, so I do not want to stop until I can no longer enjoy the responsibility,” she shared.
Speaking of responsibility, Bivens has a request: “Parents, please help your children remember to return the books as it is harder to keep track this year.”
Thanks to her ingenuity and a helpful team, in spite of the current building situation, Meeker Elementary students are able to enjoy the adventures found aboard the bookmobile.