CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the last two years, Saul Hernandez has been waiting for this moment.
“To finally actually be here with the wheel in my hands coming out to meet our first customers of the day,” he said. “It’s almost unreal.”
The 33-foot-long vehicle he now drives is filled with books, something he’s loved since he was a kid.
“I was one of the kids who grew up reading, doing all the AR tests, competing with my friends for AR points and the end of the year festivals and things like that,” Hernandez said.
After spending years in the service industry and working as an academic editor, Hernandez got the opportunity to move to Charlotte, and bring books out on the road.
The last time the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library had bookmobiles out on the streets was in 1966. Over 50 years later, the library decided to build MoLi, a new bookmobile equipped with over 1,000 books on board.
“As we’ve been dealing with the pandemic and dealing with reduced and limited accesses to our services, this kind of tool provides us the agility that we need to be able to effectively respond to where people are and what those needs are that they have,” Hernandez said.
Bringing the library to the community is something that doesn’t just excite Hernandez, but his colleague Howie Lemonds too.
“To be like one of the first two people on board the mobile library bringing it into communities that need it the most it’s just … I don’t know it’s a weird serendipity,” he said. “I can’t ever be tired at work because I’m just so excited.”
A three-week rotating schedule has already been created to bring MoLi out to high need areas of Mecklenburg County.
The library doesn’t just provide us with free books, but it’s also a place that gives us accessibility and inclusion whether it’s in a building, or out on the road.
“If we have the room to make it happen, we want to make it happen,” Hernandez said.
Saturday, January 29 the library will officially welcome MoLi to the community with a celebration and a ribbon cutting at the Eastway Regional Recreation Center. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the community.
You can find out where MoLi will be headed next HERE.