Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to unveil “MoLi,” the county’s new mobile library

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will unveil the county’s new mobile library this Saturday.

The mobile library, aka “MoLi,” was created to make library resources easily accessible in underserved communities. 

“We’re not seeing our reach in those areas,” mobile library coordinator Saul Hernandez told QCity Metro.

To pinpoint areas of need, the library system used data including library card registrations and census demographic information, Hernandez said.

The 33-foot-long vehicle holds up to 2,400 physical materials, including books, Chromebooks, audiobooks, magazines, CDs and DVDs. It also has free wifi, a 65-inch TV and a side awning for outdoor programming for hosting events and workshops.

Hernandez said the mobile initiative has historic roots. Back in 1937, the library system (then Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County) christened its first mobile unit. It ran until its decommission in 1966. 

”We had that history of knowledge that this is something that works,” Hernandez said. “This is something that Mecklenburg County can really take advantage of.”

The county’s initial mobile library in 1966. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

After two years of development and creating the vehicle from scratch, MoLi will officially roll on Saturday. It will run on a route-based system Monday through Friday (and sometimes on Saturday).

MoLi will visits each community on its route once every three weeks. Users can check out up to 99 items and return them when the vehicle returns, Hernandez said. 

The service is free to all Mecklenburg County residents with a library card. Individuals who live outside of the county must pay a $45 annual fee, which includes a library card for free access.

Although the vehicle is covered in vibrant, playful colors, Hernandez said adults are more than welcome. “…We carry materials for all ages,” he said.

In addition to reading materials, Hernandez said, adults can access learning classes via the mobile unit.

Because of Covid precautions, only one household will be allowed on the vehicle at any one time.

The unveiling event will be at the Eastway Regional Recreational Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will feature giveaways, tours, storytime, a puppet show and more.

For more information, or to request that your neighborhood be placed on MoLi’s route, visit the library’s website.

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