Rochester, Minnesota’s hybrid. Courtesy of the Rochester Public Library.
In February 2012, Mendocino County, CA, launched America’s first hybrid bookmobile. Funding came from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and a grant from Air Quality Management. It is a Freightliner diesel/electric vehicle that recharges at each stop and has 50% more the efficiency of the bookmobile it replaced. “Even using power for a half-hour, it only takes a few minutes to recharge,” explained driver Dave Frick. It also comes equipped with solar panels that charge the battery running the air-conditioning and electricity. The exterior was painted by local artist James Sibbet. As another form of recycling, it carries a box of donated books for patrons to pick from.
A few months later, Rochester, MN followed with a bookmobile powered by a hybrid drive train and generator. Other environmentally-friendly innovations include solar panels, LED lights and recycled rubber floors. It’s estimated that these green technologies save the library $3,000 in operating costs each year.
Mendocino County’s hybrid bookmobile, the first in the country. Courtesy of the Mendocino County Public Library.