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See inside Phoenix Public Library's new bookmobile

For the first time in over 30 years, Phoenix has a new bookmobile. Because of pandemic-era federal funding and after years of work, it was unveiled Friday, covered in the colors of Phoenix Public Library cards.

Mayor Kate Gallego and two volunteering second-graders cut the ribbon on the new bookmobile that morning.

“You can check out books, you can check out movies – you can even get a library card,” said Gallego, noting that the library’s newest branch will take 2,500 items on the road with it.

It’ll also offer a Wi-Fi hotspot, tablets available for checkout, as well as other services like culture passes and free naloxone kits.

“This is not your grandmother’s bookmobile,” Gallego said.

Karl Kendall with the library said that despite the newer offerings, its core purpose is the same as when the city began using bookmobiles in 1940: “To provide access to folks that live in a library desert, or aren’t close to a library.”

“We’re sort of one of the last free, neutral gathering places in the community, our buildings are,” Kendall said. “That’s what the bookmobile and libraries in general offer; it’s free, friendly, safe.”

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.