By Anne Eickstadt

The Bookmobile is stocked and ready to begin visiting areas around Belvidere and Boone County.

On Saturday, March 19, the new Ida Public Library held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Bookmobile. Purchased second-hand, this vehicle has been well-stocked with a selection of books, audiobooks, and DVDs for the use (and pleasure) of communities that do not have ready access to the library.

Jim Lee of Ida Public Library Board of Trustees said, “Welcome to the Ribbon Cutting ceremony for our newly acquired Bookmobile. A library plays a very important role in the life of a community. It provides resources that everyone has access to use. It levels the playing field for families that do not have the financial resources to underwrite the education of their children. It provides an opportunity to grow and learn.

“It becomes a beacon of hope for those that may be disadvantaged. It is a place that welcomes all people in the community. It is a place that provides services that all can use. It provides a cultural oasis that otherwise may be lacking. It keeps the community from becoming the veritable desert fueled by misinformation and ignorance. It is a center that has the ability to bring people together.

“It is important that we reach the people of both the City of Belvidere and Boone County. Our financial resources are limited in a small city like Belvidere but we are charged with expanding the ability to serve the citizens of our fine community. We have needed to find creative means and methods to accomplish that mission.

“The Bookmobile affords us the opportunity to reach members of the community that may otherwise be overlooked. Our Library Director and her team have worked hard to find ways to improve service and expand the ability to meet the needs of all the people of Boone County.

“The Bookmobile is one answer to the question, ‘What can we do to provide access to the services the people want and need?’

“Thank you for coming.”

“I have had people ask if they can buy a book from the Bookmobile,” said Mindy Long, Ida Public Library director. “I have to tell them no – these are library books that we loan out and they need to be returned just like any library book. We are simply making it easier for people to reach library books.

“There are entire areas of the city and the county that do not have easy access to the library. Areas with a large population of senior citizens who no longer are able to drive or children that would have to walk or ride all the way downtown to reach us for their learning or entertainment needs. This bookmobile will allow us to bring a selection of books and other library materials to them. Our staff has selected a variety of books to start off the Bookmobile travels. We will take notes after each trip and see what is being checked out, what genres we need to stock more of, and do our best to fulfill their library needs with our mobile extension.

“This was made possible with a fund that was started years ago in preparation for building an extension to the library building. The library board of trustees conferred and determined that a bookmobile would be the best way, at this time, to serve our patrons across the city and the county.”

A valid Ida Public Library card is required to check items out of the Bookmobile. For Belvidere residents, the library card is included with your property tax. If you do not have a library card yet, simply bring a current ID or piece of official mail to receive your card. Children age 3 and up can receive a card when accompanied by a parent (sorry, grandparents do not count for this – it has to be a parent).

Adults who live outside of the city limits are considered to be non-residents and will need to pay a fee equivalent to a city resident’s property fee. Multiply the taxable value of the property by .002 to calculate the fee.

Boone County students attending school in District 100 or 200 may receive a free library card for a limited time courtesy of the Cards for Kids program. Please bring proof of student enrollment (class schedule, report card, student ID) and parent ID showing current address. Parental signature is required.

This also applies to homeschooled students with a parent ID and signature.

Disabled American Veterans who qualify under the VA rating and reside in Boone County, receive a free library card for themselves and for their household members. A current ID is required with proof of VA status.

The Ida Public Library Bookmobile will be making stops at various city locations Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will also be making stops at scheduled county locations on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The schedule is posted on our website at and will be available on the Bookmobile.

-Bookmobile stops may be cancelled due to inclement weather or road conditions.

-Due to the length of time between stops and the possibility of cancellations, no late fines will be charges for Bookmobile materials, but fees will be assessed for damaged or lost materials.

-Face masks are recommended but not required. There will be medical grade disposables available. Please keep in mind the small, narrow space as you make your choice.

– Due to the narrow space, there may be a wait time to enter the Bookmobile.

-Check out limit for the Bookmobile is 10 items.

-The Bookmobile cannot accept main library returns or returns from other libraries.

-No cash is carried on the Bookmobile but credit cards and checks are accepted.

-The Bookmobile staff can process new or renewed library cards.

Bookmobile phone: 815-329-4779.

Main library phone: 815-544-3838.

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