Denver Public Library Unveils New Reading Rocket Bookmobile

The Denver Public Library's (DPL) new Reading Rocket bookmobile will hit the road today, making its first stop at Schmitt Elementary in the Ruby Hill neighborhood. It is the first of two new bookmobiles that will serve 28 Denver Public Schools (DPS) and 15 community centers. A second Reading Rocket is scheduled to arrive in April 2009. The Reading Rockets will replace DPL's current bookmobile, which has been in service since 1997.

"Bookmobiles have served as the mobile service units for the Denver Public Library for over 70 years. The addition of the Library's Reading Rockets will enable us to better serve the community, reaching school age children and senior citizens with the valued Library materials they rely on," said Denver City Librarian, Shirley Amore.

Each one of the bio-diesel powered vehicles is handicap-accessible. Both bookmobiles feature two computer stations and can hold up to 3,000 books, CDs and DVDs. Combined they will reach approximately 9,000 students and Denver residents. The bookmobiles will be hard to miss, with colorful, space-themed artwork designed to capture the imagination of children.

The Reading Rockets were designed to make reading fun and inspire a love of reading. "The Reading Rocket bookmobiles will reinforce DPS' literacy programs in a modern and creative way," said Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools. "We believe the Reading Rockets will help encourage our students to become avid readers and life-long learners."

Denver has a long history of providing traveling library services to the community. In 1938, DPL introduced its first mobile branch, "The Trailer Library," which was decommissioned in 1950. It was replaced by a full-service bookmobile that featured air-conditioning and heat, a rarity at the time. In 1968, DPL managed a fleet of four bookmobiles that serviced 26 weekly stops and circulated 258,862 books. "El Numero Cinco," a bookmobile with an emphasis on Spanish-language materials, hit the streets in 1969. With the launch of a new state-of-the art bookmobile in 1988, DPL began a partnership with DPS to bring books to schools with limited library resources.

The two new Reading Rocket bookmobiles were generously donated by the Denver-based asset management firm, Janus Capital Group. This donation is part of Janus' on-going efforts to improve local public education and to ensure that more kids have an opportunity to succeed at school and in life.

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