Bookmobile purchase on June 2 city agenda

The Bookmobile is on its last legs and the library staff is ready to replace it.

The current Bookmobile is nearing 110,000 miles, regularly breaks down and often gets stuck. Maintenance costs have risen to more than $13,000 since May 2017 for items such as coach generator repair, brake adjustments, windshield replacement, dead battery recurrences, oils leaks and more.

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“The Bookmobile has had to be towed a number of times and rapidly is becoming unsafe and unsustainable. In order for the library to continue to provide outreach service to nursing homes, daycares, schools, Hutterite Colonies and others across Cascade County a new Bookmobile is needed,” according to the library staff report.

During their June 2 meeting, the City Commission will consider approving the purchase of a new Farber Super Duty model Bookmobile based on the Ford F550 4×4 Chassis from Farber Specialty Vehicles through OMNIA, formerly known as U.S. Communities or National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance Company, for $191,470.

The Great Falls Library Foundation is partnering with the Great Falls Public Library to raise the funds to purchase a new Bookmobile.

The foundation will pay for the entire purchase, though library staff said during the library board’s May 26 meeting that they are also applying for funds from the city’s Community Development Block Grant program toward the Bookmobile purchase.

The City of Great Falls has a membership with OMNIA to view their competitive bid contracts. As an OMNIA member, the City of Great Falls can interact directly with awarded vendors to facilitate a purchase. This also allows the City of Great Falls to work with the OMNIA contract manager to verify pricing, answer contract questions or any other questions that may arise.

Vehicle information was obtained from Farber Specialty Vehicles, Matthews Specialty Vehicles and LDV Custom Specialty Vehicles.

A Bookmobile Committee consisting of Doug Alm, public works fleet manager; Susie McIntyre, library director; Jessie Damyanovich, Bookmobile driver; Sara Linder Parkinson, public services librarian; and representatives from the Foundation Bookmobile Campaign Committee had several meetings to review the available options and develop specifications for the Bookmobile.