Petersburg Public Library Introduces New Tech Bus
Petersburg Public Library has been included in a select group of 20 Virginia libraries to be awarded a CARES subgrant. This grant is in the amount of $36,000 and has been used to fund the new Petersburg Public Library Tech Knowledge Bus.
As the library is a primary resource for providing internet access to community members, while the library is still closed to the public due to COVID-19, the desire is to take the internet access and select library services around to various neighborhoods.
“With many students being educated virtually, we collaborated with the Petersburg City Public Schools technology director to identify areas where students were still in need of internet access,” said Petersburg Public Library Director, Wayne Crocker. “We have used this information to determine our inaugural schedule for neighborhoods that the bus will visit.”
The tech knowledge bus is equipped with two laptops, a selection of library books, and an iPad offering digital versions of national and local print publications. Visitors will have the ability to check out books, print and fax documents, register for library cards, and connect to WiFi that extends to anyone within 300 feet of the bus.
While the initial plan was to purchase a school bus for this project, the bus was actually donated. When President and CEO of Blue Bird Bus Sales, Mark Schmitt, heard of the vision for the tech knowledge bus, he exclaimed “we want to help.” “We wanted to be part of Mr. Crocker’s determination. We are just trying to give back and we’re really excited to do it!”
Blue Bird Bus Sales originated in Pennsylvania in 1971 and expanded to Virginia in 2016 making Petersburg their home in the Commonwealth.
The tech knowledge bus is currently receiving its final touches and recruiting for a driver. A schedule will be made available for neighborhood visits. Petersburg Public Library will continue to offer library services through the drive-thru in addition to the tech knowledge bus.