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Bookmobile is Helper's gain, Wellington's loss, citizens say

Wellington's mayor and council listen to citizens who say the loss of the bookmobile will detract from the quality of life in the city.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Last Thursday, the full Helper City Council made official what the less-than-quorum group of last month said would probably happen: the city will become the county's home base for the State Library System's Bookmobile.

It will cost a few parking spaces near the city library in the Civic Auditorium, but it will add some 15,000 volumes to the city's 13,000 volume collection. The Bookmobile has 20,000 books for circulation, but it can carry only 5,000 at a time.

The state will also handle the cataloging of both Helper's and the Bookmobile's collections, a $10,000, one-time job. After that the city will have to cover the cataloging costs of about $1,500 a year. That is an expense the city has to cover anyway to keep its certification.

Helper's gain, however, is Wellington's loss. The night before Helper's meeting, a group of about a dozen Wellington citizens converged on their city council, saying they were dismayed that the motorized library would be changing its home base.

Children and senior citizens use it extensively, they said, and not only for reading. The mobile has copy machines and computers that have come in very handy. The problem, they said, was that the many of the town's residents didn't know where the library was because of a lack of signage.

Mayor Ben Blackburn explained that the city had asked the state to participate in utility payments, but the state apparently did not want to do that.

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