Bookmobile rolls into county

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

It might surprise some of you to learn that the United States has more libraries than it does McDonald’s locations.

Or that 1.1 billion people go to the library every year, compared to the 204 million tickets sold to sporting events.

I consider myself a major bookworm — most of the time, I’d rather read a book than watch a movie or TV — so I know the lure of a great library, but those facts surprised even me. I learned those when I was touring the Digital Bookmobile, which rolled into Hoover to visit Spain Park High School and Hoover High School Oct. 17-18.

Both schools have their own digital library databases that students can access at any time with personal computers, tablets, smart phones or other electronic devices. Spain Park librarian Marnie Utz said when Spain Park launched its digital library last year, most students were immediately comfortable using e-books and audiobooks via their school-provided iPads, and were able to seamlessly go back and forth between the brick-and-mortar school library and the digital library to get whatever they needed.

As a Hoover Public Library card holder, I have really enjoyed diving into the digital world via e-books. I love having books with me wherever I go just by downloading them onto my iPhone — as much as I enjoy the feel of a book’s pages between my fingers, it is very nice not to have to lug those books around in my bag.

I’m sure Spain Park students also enjoy the lighter backpacks they get as a result of using iPads and digital books.

Bailey Hotujac with OverDrive, which distributes the digital books used by Spain Park in its library, said she sees the Bookmobile as just another chance to get kids excited about reading in all its different forms.

“Anything that gets kids reading, I’m a fan,” she said.

I totally agree. There are so many forms of entertainment jostling for kids’ attention these days — video games, TV, movies, the Internet, social media, etc. — that I fully support any method of getting kids to read, even if it includes a screen.

For more information on the Digital Bookmobile, check out

Amy Jones is the associate editor of the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at