Library foundation fundraising for new Bookmobile

The Great Falls Public Library Foundation is launching its annual Book-a-Thon fundraiser in November.

The fundraiser generates funds to cover the cost of programs, services and materials at the Great Falls Public Library and runs through March 2021.

As a special request this year, the GFPL Foundation is asking for donations for a new Bookmobile to replace the current 20-year-old vehicle, which required service eight times in 2019 and is approaching the end of its usable life, according to the foundation.

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“It has required towing numerous times and there is concern not only for the cost of keeping the current vehicle limping along, but the safety of staff who operate the Bookmobile as well,” according to the foundation.

The current Bookmobile was purchased in 1999 with the help of an anonymous $135,000 donation.

The Bookmobile extends the services of the library throughout the county, providing resources to five towns, seven assisted living facilities, seven child care facilities, and five Hutterite colonies.

“The Bookmobile in Great Falls is a source of nostalgia for many (read hundreds of memories here), but the modern bookmobile is the only source of library access for many children, families, and patrons whose travel and mobility is limited,” according to the foundation.

A new Bookmobile costs $198,000 and the Book-A-Thon campaign’s goal is $255,000, to include covering the cost of the Bookmobile, the fundraising campaign and start-up operations.

Bookmobile services in Cascade County began as a Works Progress Administration project in 1940, and were taken up by the Great Falls Public Library in 1956.

More than a 1,000 items are checked out from the Bookmobile monthly, with more than 2,000 patrons utilizing it annually.

Service is currently limited to two days a week and each stop gets one visit per month.

“According to library staff, a new bookmobile would not only be safer—with a more robust chassis–and more cost effective over time, but newer technology would increase the services provided, including WiFi access anywhere the Bookmobile traveled and a streamlined process for staff to migrate collections on and off the vehicle. The current Bookmobile does not have network capabilities, causing time to be spent on redundant circulation tasks,” according to the foundation.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online at or sent to the Great Falls Library Foundation, P.O. Box 742, Great Falls, 59403.

Current Bookmobile stops are:

  • Fort Shaw Elementary
  • Vaughn School
  • Ulm School
  • Wedsworth Library
  • Belt Library
  • Grassland Colony
  • Big Stone Colony
  • Fairhaven Colony
  • PV Colony
  • Hill Top Colony
  • Pam’s Daycare
  • Jill’s Place
  • TLC Learning Center
  • Skyline School
  • Superior Children’s Center
  • St. Thomas Child Center
  • Wee Disciples
  • Grandview Apartments
  • Soroptimist Apartments
  • Brookdale Retirement
  • Golden Eagle
  • Portage Apartments
  • Highgate Retirement
  • Park Place Manor