The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 19, 2008

Library gets deal on bookmobile

Lyn Meek knows a bargain when she sees one.

That’s why she traveled from Johnstown to Colchester, Vt., the day after spotting the ad for the bookmobile.

Now, for $26,183, Cambria County’s library system has a 2003 Bluebird bookmobile valued at $92,000.

Staffer Ron Poprich drove it here Monday. The 11-hour car trip took 15 hours by bus, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

“We found out about this on July 28, and I was so serious about it that I was in Vermont the next day. It’s a good thing I was, because they had a lot of interest in it, from places like Texas and Ohio, asking if they would hold it for them,” she said.

But thanks to cash on hand, Cambria County Library System was able to immediately seal the deal.

“It was doable because we had the cash available,” said Meek, who is director of the system and its 14 branches.

“We had received a bequest from Paul Mowry, an employee of Bethlehem Steel who lived in Johnstown until the late 1970s.

“He had no children, he lived in Florida in later years, and he left us with a substantial gift,” she said.

To recognize his generosity, a small plaque will be mounted in the vehicle.

The new bookmobile is 28 feet long, and no commercial license is required to drive it.

Cambria County’s library system has had a bookmobile service since the early 1960s.

The system’s latest bus cost $110,000 in 1988. That vehicle now has 200,000 miles on it. It makes more than 40 stops in the Johnstown area and communities countywide on a regular basis, servicing such northern towns as Glendale and Loretto.

The bookmobile also stops at personal care facilities, day-care centers, correctional facilities and shopping centers.

Meek said the Vermont town’s library bought the vehicle through a federal grant, but the outreach program didn’t work out. So with only 14,000 miles on it, the bookmobile went up for sale.

“The Vermont people were really glad that it was bought by us, because some people who look at used bookmobiles want to use them for recreational vehicles,” Meek said.

“We have some work to do,” she added. “It will be inspected, and a sign company will look at it to see what lettering has to be removed.”

A new bookmobile schedule goes into effect Sept. 15. For mor information, visit

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