Kitsap Regional Library's 'Buttercup' bookmobile to be replaced

By virtue of a multi-community donation effort, Kitsap Regional Library will soon replace its aging, ailing bookmobile, “Buttercup,” with a shiny new model.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Public Information and Community Affairs Manager Susan Rosapepe. “We have had Buttercup for so many years, and she has been a good soldier. But she’s a very tired lady, and she deserves a rest.”

KRL took delivery on the brand new, purple, diesel-powered Moroney bookmobile, nicknamed “Violet,” on July 14. The $137,000 vehicle was purchased entirely through donations made through the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation; major donors included the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, the Silverdale Rotary Club Foundation, East Bremerton Friends of the Library, North Kitsap Friends of the Library, Port Orchard Friends of the Library, the Scripps Howard Foundation through the Kitsap Sun, and the McEachern Charitable Trust.

KRL calls the bookmobile its “10th branch,” providing not just books but also access to the online KRL catalog, KRL research databases, and the Internet.

In its 27-year history, Buttercup’s thrice-weekly excursions have amounted to more than 500,000 miles of travel to outlying areas of Kitsap, including Olalla and Seabeck, that don’t have nearby branches of their own.

“We believe that the library is the heart of a community,” Rosapepe said. “We have nine branches, but there are areas that are underserved. We would like to take all the library services, which are all free, to as many people as possible.”

To fulfill that mission, Buttercup has gone through four engines. It now breaks down regularly and makes monthly visits to the repair shop. The vehicle’s wiring is glitchy and its lighting inadequate; during the summer, its interior temperature can reach 100 degrees.

Violet, by contrast, features a well-lit, climate-controlled environment and will get three times the gas mileage.

And of course, there are the books. At 28 feet long, Violet has roughly double Buttercup’s shelf space. Right now, Violet is housed in a secure storage facility, where KRL is in the process of outfitting its interior. It will make its debut at a welcome party to be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Kitsap Regional Library. The public is invited to attend.

“We want to offer our wonderful services to as many people as possible,” Rosapepe said. “We’re just so happy to have her.”

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