GFPL Bookmobile

Great Falls Public Library's 21-year-old bookmobile, a bus that travels across Cascade County with library services for those from more rural communities. Photo by Afiq Hisham.

CASCADE COUNTY - Since 1999, Great Falls’ bookmobile helped spread the joy of reading to families who can’t travel far, but after years of wear-and-tear, one foundation plans on giving the service new life. 


After two decades of bringing books to schools, daycares and families across the county, library staff say the vehicle’s age is starting to show. With eight repairs in the last year, time has only made this bus more vulnerable to breaking down creating safety concerns for driving staff. 


“It’s been one thing after another with it,” said Driver Jessica Damyanovich with the Great Falls Public Library. On highways for instance, she tells Montana Right Now about one unknown issue that keeps the bus slow at times, putting her and oncoming traffic at risk. 


“It just wouldn’t kick into gear and it was going about 45, 50 9 (miles-per-hour) for a while, so I had to pull over,” said Damyanovich.


However, instead of expensive repairs, the Great Falls Public Library Foundation’s (GFPL) fundraising for a new truck and trailer setup, continuing the library’s decades-long tradition of bringing rural communities education and entertainment since the 1950s. 


“The cab would be separate from the library. We would also have a handicap access, which we do here... and I just think just on the roads that I take it on I think it’ll just handle a lot better,” said Damyanovich. 


It may take a while before GFPL reaches its donation goals, but the driver expects a bitter-sweet shift ahead after 15 years’ worth of memories. “I love it, so it’ll be hard to part with it too. We had many years together, an adventure,” she said.  


Fundraising efforts will go on through March, with a goal of over $250,000 for campaign, vehicle and operation costs. You can donate through GFPLFS official website


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