How a new local reading program got started, and why its leader is passionate about books

Cari Hillman, Public Relations Manager, MidPointe Library System talks about the new bookmobile program. CONTRIBUTED
Cari Hillman, Public Relations Manager, MidPointe Library System talks about the new bookmobile program. CONTRIBUTED

The Midpointe Library System has launched a new bookmobile program. With “Storytime at the Park,” the library will be parking the bookmobile in local parks once a month as an outreach to the community.

We spoke with Cari Hillman, Public Relations Manager for the MidPointe Library System to find out more about this new program. Find a complete bookmobile schedule at www.MidPointeLibrary.org.

The MidPointe Library System has locations in Middletown, Monroe, Trenton and West Chester. The library also serves Liberty, Lemon, Madison and Wayne townships.

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Q: Tell us about yourself?

A: I have been with the Library for over six years. I have a BA and MBA from Wright State University. I’m active in local community organizations and events, including AAUW, Book by the Banks and Women Enriching Lives.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: My job is fun because there is no typical day. There is a misconception that libraries are boring, but there is something new or different happening all the time. One day I’ll be meeting with community partners to work on a collaboration, the next I’ll be designing marketing materials for one of our 3,000-plus programs.

Q: What are some of your hobbies, past times? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

A: I love to read (it comes with the job). I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and dog. My husband and I attend every University of Dayton basketball home game and we always look forward to cheering on the Flyers.

Q: Can you talk about some of the latest happenings at the library as far as events and/or programs?

A: There is always something new at MidPointe. We are now offering passport services at all locations – just call and make an appointment. We are also circulating what we call “special collections” – board games, Playaway Launchpads, science tools (like telescopes) and more.

Q: Why do you believe in the importance of reading and what are some of the benefits?

A: One of my favorite quotes is “readers become leaders.” There is no better way to give your child a “leg up” than by investing your time and energy in early literacy.

Statistics show that children who are read to at an early age are more prepared for Kindergarten. Programs like Storytimes and other youth events at the library are a wonderful opportunity to explore different types of books and participate in developmental activities that are essential for little ones.

Q: For those who haven’t been to the library in a while, can you reflect on what’s new or different?

A: Gone are the days of quiet book depositories and shushing librarians. The library is a thriving, energy-packed community anchor. If you haven’t visited the library in a while, we welcome you back and I don’t think you will believe your eyes.

Q: One of the initiatives this spring is the bookmobile program that will be launching in local parks. Can you tell us about that?

A: MidPointe Library System and Liberty Township are partnering to present “Storytime at the Park” throughout the different parks in the township. On the second Wednesday of the month (April-October), enjoy a 20-minute storytime, then access to the Library on Wheels – a 30-foot Bookmobile packed with library materials for the whole family.

Q: Is this a new program?

A: This is a brand-new service we offer. We “rolled out” the bookmobile in January but will have an official ribbon cutting on National Bookmobile Day – April 11.

Q: How does the book mobile program work?

A: MidPointe Library System’s Bookmobile holds over 2,500 library items. This 30-foot vehicle makes regular stops throughout MidPointe’s service area (over 200 square miles) and appears at special events throughout eastern Butler County.

Q: Who is the program geared toward?

A: The bookmobile is for everyone, kids, teens, adults, but we are primarily focusing visits on the portions of our service area that don’t have a physical library branch.

Q: How does having a bookmobile out in the community help encourage reading?

A: The bookmobile is all about accessibility – the easier it is to reach books, the easier it is to read them.

Q: Is this part of the Library on Wheels program?

A: The MidPointe Bookmobile is part of our Library on Wheels department, which encompasses the majority of our services outside library walls – delivery to homebound patrons, programming at locations throughout the community (such as extended care facilities, pre-schools, retirement communities, Liberty Center and IKEA) and more.

Q: How has the community responded to events like this? What would you hope to accomplish?

A: Community response has been overwhelming and positive, particularly from the school districts we serve. We hope the bookmobile brings the joy of reading to as many people as possible.

Q: As far as the program launching in the community, what are you most excited about?

A: We are excited to meet those in the community who haven’t had easy access to the library and sharing all we have to offer from MidPointe.

Q: How can we find out more about bookmobile program that is launching this spring in the parks?

A: Find a complete bookmobile schedule at www.MidPointeLibrary.org.

Q: Do you have a schedule of bookmobile stops this spring?

A: Storytime at the Park are from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Dates include:

• April 9: Fort Liberty Playland

• May 14 : Liberty Park

• June 11: Reserves Park

• July 9: Dudley Memorial Park

• Aug. 13: Fort Liberty Playland

• Sept. 10: Dudley Memorial Park

• Oct. 8: Reserves Park

Q: How can we connect with the library?

A: Phone: 513-424-1251, website: www.MidPointeLibrary.org, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MidPointeLibrarySystem/, Twitter: @MidPointe, Instagram: midpointe_library, and Blog: www.MidPointeLibraryBlog.org

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: MidPointe Library System is only able to offer all we do because of the support of our community, so I want to take every opportunity to thank all those who call eastern Butler County home. We hope you are proud of your Library and utilize it to the full extent.

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