The Bozeman Public Library Foundation has successfully raised enough money to move forward with purchasing a bookmobile for use as a mobile library branch, foundation director Paula Beswick said Friday.

With that milestone passed, the goal is to have the bookmobile program up and running by the end of the year, she said.

“We’re so excited,” Beswick said.

The bookmobile, ordered from school bus manufacturer Blue Bird, will be 40 feet long, equipped with solar panels and an awning, and run on bio-diesel, Beswick said. It will feature two doors and an ADA ramp for handicap access.

The library foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to support the library’s operations, announced a campaign a year ago, aiming to bring in $600,000 to fund the bookmobile and some of its operating costs. So far, according to Beswick, about $400,000 has been raised.

The actual cost of the vehicle came in at $320,000, she said, with the remaining portion of the $600,000 goal intended for use establishing an endowment, invested so interest can support maintenance and fuel costs associated with the bookmobile program.

In addition to continuing fundraising for the bookmobile endowment, Beswick said, they’re now working on finalizing details of the bookmobile’s configuration and route. The vehicle will serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot, she said, and provide opportunity for library programs like book readings and computer classes.

“The fun stuff is still to come,” she said.

Eric Dietrich can be reached at 406-582-2628 or edietrich@dailychronicle.com. He is on Twitter at @eidietrich.

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