On October 8th I presented at the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) annual conference in Everett, Washington. The presentation was about Techlab, the King County Library System’s mobile computer lab. Techlab is King County Library System’s fully equipped mobile classroom with eight laptop computer workstations, a full productivity software suite, broadband internet access, and a screen projector for group instruction! My coworker, Félix Reyes, and I setup shop in the parking lot outside the conference along with several other outreach vehicles for the Bookmobile Exhibition. I only attended one day, but got the chance to see bookmobiles from the region and meet lots of people who provide mobile and outreach services. There were sessions about Intellectual Freedom, driver trainings, ergonomics, the ALA-OLOS Bookmobile Wiki, and more. Nancy Pearl was one of the keynote speakers; she talked about the “The Pleasures and Perils of a Life of Reading.” Pegasus, the world’s oldest bookmobile, and the guys from Unshelved, a daily comic that takes place in a public library, were also in attendance.
Back in July, I attended the annual ALA Conference in Chicago and spent a time at “Bookmobile Sunday” talking about mobile services and sharing ideas and resources. I think outreach is such a critical part of the work that libraries do, and I feel excited that I’ve been able to meet and talk to so many people who understand the importance of these services. I think we’re in an exciting time for reimagining what outreach means. It’s not just actual vehicles, but having a presence at community events, visiting schools, recruiting volunteers, and online services…the possibilities are endless.
Amber Slaven is the Public Computer Instruction Coordinator at the King County Library System in WA.