Earlier this year, Gwinnett County Public Library received its brand new mobile library van intended to bring the library directly to residents who are unable to visit one of GCPL’s physical locations. Under normal circumstances, the van would serve as an extension of the library, giving residents the ability to check out materials, sign up for a library card, and have access to programs and resources such as early literacy initiatives. However, the van arrived in mid-March, the same week library leadership made the difficult, but necessary decision to temporarily close all 15 branches to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Plans for the mobile library were effectively put on hold.

While it wasn’t immediately possible to use the mobile library as intended due to health concerns, GCPL jumped into action to support the community in a different way. The van is currently being used to help with the library’s food distribution efforts across the county. Over the summer, GCPL partnered with local organizations to help residents facing food uncertainty due to the pandemic. The mobile library is now helping staff to transport and distribute meals at several library locations that have been designated as food distribution sites. Residents can drive through to pick up boxes of produce and shelf-stable food items or individual meals, depending on location.

GCPL plans to continue these efforts and looks forward to eventually having its Library on the Move out in the community once it’s safe to do so. Youth Services staff will be taking the van out to parks this fall for socially distanced story times.