Chapel Hill Public Library Introduces Pop-up Library Service: the Circulator

Post Date:06/27/2017 10:24 AM

Chapel Hill Public Library is bringing the things people love about the library out into the community with a new service called the Circulator. More like a food truck than a traditional book mobile, the Circulator is fun, flexible, and functional. It allows CHPL to directly engage with members of the community wherever they might gather and extend the library’s footprint, services, and impact beyond 100 Library Drive. The Circulator will debut to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Chapel Hill Farmers' Market at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 1.

CHPL Director Susan Brown says that the Circulator meets key strategic goals.  “This service will help us fulfill our pledge to make every interaction between the public and the library shine, whenever, wherever, and whyever.”  Brown also notes that the Circulator is adaptable to interests that the community has. “On any given day we might take cookbooks to the Farmer's Market or STEAM programs and storytimes to schools and neighborhoods or graphic novels and games to a Comic Con.”

CHPL Assistant Director Meeghan Rosen, the project’s manager, says the Circulator is loaded with materials that realize the library’s mission to spark curiosity, inspire learning, and create connections. “Sometimes we will bring books with us to events, and we also have dozens of games, costumes, crafts, and furnishings to create a place to simply relax and talk with a helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly librarian.” She adds, “The Circulator is designed to be responsive to what people tell us they want and need.”

Funding for the Circulator came from a donation of $15,000 from the Friends of the Library and a federal grant of nearly $100,000, made possible the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Rosen says that CHPL made several modifications to the 16” step truck to make it flexible. “We added an extendible awning, bookshelves, a book return, and even solar panels to the roof, so that the Circulator offers a complete library experience equal to what people have come to expect at the library itself.”

The Library expects to engage many community partners as the Circulator cruises around Chapel Hill. Event organizers can request a visit from the Circulator through a form at

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