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Regional Library System’s new outreach vans serves Aiken County and other areas

October 10, 2018

The Aiken-Bamberg-Barnwell-Edgefield Regional Library System has a new $158,950 outreach van with a wheelchair lift and a canopy.

The vehicle, which arrived in mid-August, is a smaller and sleeker replacement for the 32-foot-long bookmobile that had been in service since 1995.

“The outreach van is much easier to move around,” said Regional Library System Director Mary Jo Dawson on Tuesday before a ribbon-cutting ceremony and check presentation in the Aiken County Public Library’s parking lot near downtown Aiken.

“We don’t just park it in the middle of a town and wait for people to come to it,” Dawson continued. “We’re able to be more targeted with it and go to facilities for seniors, schools and daycare facilities. It also will make visits to community events on special occasions.”

Inside the outreach van are books, audiobooks and DVDs. People who come on board can borrow them and return others they have checked out previously.

They also can apply for library cards and request items from the Regional Library System’s various branches.

“The van has a mobile hotspot, and right now we are using that for administrative purposes,” Dawson said. “We are going to upgrade it, but we have to wait until January (of 2019) for a new source of funding.”

The Friends of the Aiken County Public Library’s president, Elaine Kjellquist, presented a check for $105,000 to Dawson to help pay for the van.

Dawson described the donation as “a very generous, beyond belief gift.”

The Regional Library System also received a $40,000 Library Services and Technology Act Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The South Carolina State Library in Columbia administers the grant funds.

The Regional Library System also used $3,950 of its own money to purchase the 24-foot-long van from Farber Specialty Vehicles of Ohio.

Aiken County Government provided $10,000.

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