By Betty Williamson
There are five basic necessities of life: Food, water, clothing, shelter, and (of course) books.
For most of my lifetime, that fifth need was filled by highly-anticipated monthly visits from the Rural Bookmobile East, the mobile, home-sized library on wheels that has operated out of Tucumcari since 1956 as a long-reaching arm of the New Mexico State Library.
I was alarmed by a recent rumor that this literary wagon might quit serving my home town of Pep, and I am relieved to report it is not true.
Library manager Geraldine Marquez tells me that Pep remains firmly on the 2,000 mile route the east side bookmobile travels each month to serve 1,946 registered users in Chaves, Curry, Lincoln, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt, San Miguel and Union counties.
While they’d always welcome more clients — all you have to do is show up at one of their stops and sign in — they remain committed to making sure folks in rural areas have easy access to library services.
There are no late fees on books, and the librarians on board don’t even blink an eye when patrons show up with boxes or bags to check out dozens of items at a time.
There are many reasons to love rural living, and bookmobiles may top the list.
Betty Williamson found some of her best childhood friends on the shelves of the East Side Bookmobile. You may reach her at: