It's 3 p.m. on a recent Monday afternoon and children are lined up outside the Bookmobile parked at Eastmont County Park in East Wenatchee.
As librarian Mark Kapral opens the door and lets them in, they begin peppering him with requests. Do you have any Pokemon books? The second Harry Potter book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Cool science experiments? Anything about cats? Kapral begins scanning the shelves that line the interior of the van — filled with a variety of popular children’s books — and quickly finds something for each of them.
They all leave the mobile library with something that has them smiling.
Unlike the many rural schools it visits for nine months of the year, North Central Regional Library’s Bookmobile does not get the summer off. Since school let out in June, Kapral and a team of bookmobile librarians have been visiting summer school programs, day camps, churches, free lunch sites, remote communities without libraries, the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market, Rocky Reach Dam and other locations to get books into the hands of children.
"I love doing this," Kapral said.
Many of the children come in knowing exactly what they want. Book 2 of this series or the latest release from that series. The Bookmobile is stocked with multiple copies of popular series' like Dork Diaries and Harry Potter, and other favorites like The Lego Book. Others have more general requests, like “a book with cats in it.” One boy looking for books can’t remember the series he’s reading, but knows it starts with an “M”. Kapral asks some key questions and ultimately gets the boy to remember the name.
On this particular Monday, Kapral has visited a church summer program, Grant and Cascade elementary schools in East Wenatchee,a free lunch program at Kenroy Park, the YMCA day camp, and finally the Eastmont Parks and Recreation summer program. By the end of the day, more than 350 books had been checked out.
As kids leave with books clutched tightly in their arms, many are so anxious to get started that they flop into the grass nearby and start reading.