CDL is Taking Its Services on the Road

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By Doug Marrin

The Chelsea District Library (CDL) has a mobile library vehicle in the works, “Mobile CDL.” The Library presented its initiative to the Chelsea City Council at its July 18, 2022, meeting.

“We’re here to introduce you to a very exciting program starting at CDL this year, the planning and purchasing of a vehicle that we’re calling ‘Mobile CDL,’” said Lori Coryell, Director of the Chelsea District Library. “Mobile CDL will bring the Library’s resources, staff, and programs to all corners of the Library service area.”

Mobile CDL is the modern version of the old bookmobile of several generations ago, bringing the library out to folks who may not otherwise experience it. Coryell explained CDL serves approximately 15,000 people in Chelsea and surrounding townships. Of that number, 35% live in the City, with 65% living beyond its limits.

Coryell stated that 72% of Chelsea residents have library cards while 55% do in the outlying areas. CDL’s service area is approximately the Chelsea School District of 110 square miles. Chelsea accounts for 3.3% of that area, leaving almost 97% of the area outside of the City.

“This places a large number of our service area residents outside of ready and easy access to our services,” said Coryell.

Barriers some people face to library services include circumstances (mobility and disabilities), economic and transportation challenges, limited information and technology literacy and access, and geographical distance. “Research indicates that proximity to a library increases usage,” said Coryell.

The Director told the Council that Mobile CDL would bridge the digital divide by providing access to technology with Wi-Fi internet access and hands-on training to access the library’s digital tools and services. The mobile service will give people access to CDL’s physical and digital collections. Chelsea School District students will have the opportunity to hone their literacy skills. Office services like copying, scanning, and faxing will be available.

The Library has already contracted for the mobile unit receiving a grant from T-Mobile for $47,400. The Chelsea Community Foundation has donated $25,000 to the initiative. The CDL has kicked off a fundraising campaign for the final 10%, of which more than half has already been raised. Coryell said Mobile CDL could be operational in 9-12 months if all goes well.

The Library is asking folks to take a short 10-question survey to help form its strategy for the mobile library. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/86YTB7S

“We think this is going to be a really wonderful presence in our community, and we’ve been so thrilled with the response to it so far,” said Coryell.

More information on Mobile CDL can be found at https://mobilecdl.org/

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