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The St. Louis County Library Foundation has received a $450,000 donation from the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation to sponsor a new St. Louis County Library (SLCL) bookmobile. This generous donation marks the fourth gift this year from local organizations and businesses to upgrade SLCL’s aging bookmobile fleet. SLCL has made school bookmobile replacement a major priority in 2023 to ensure the Library District can continue providing equitable services to students in St. Louis County. Great Southern Bank, the St. Louis Cardinals and Emerson have all made donations to sponsor new bookmobiles. The new units will hit the road in the second half of 2024. 

A contest will be held in early 2024 for kids to submit their design ideas for the new bookmobile. More details about the contest will be announced soon.

Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director & CEO said, “This gift from the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation will ensure that students across our area have access to library materials. For many students, the bookmobile may be the only contact they have with the St. Louis County Library. Bookmobiles eliminate many barriers to service and open up a world of discovery and enjoyment for students. We are so grateful for this gift, it will allow us to continue meeting kids where they are.”  

The new bookmobile sponsored by the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation will house a collection of approximately 5,000 items featuring a diverse range of authors, genres and age levels. The vehicle includes an accessible lift for ADA access, ensuring all patrons can access the bookmobile safely. The interior will have removable seating for visitors, two staff stations where kids can check out books or ask questions, and multiple skylights to provide abundant natural light. The new bookmobile will include a large, 21-foot awning to provide shade and shelter for outdoor access and activities. Additionally, the vehicle will contain a cradlepoint router to provide extended WiFi access in areas where the bookmobile will visit.

SLCL’s Bookmobile & Mobile Services operates four school bookmobiles that visit more than 50 public and private schools throughout 11 school districts in St. Louis County. In 2022, school bookmobiles checked out 291,522 items to students and issued over 7,550 new library cards. Bookmobiles made 840 visits to schools and provided service to nearly 274,293 children. In 2022, there was a constant increase in the amount of school districts and sites that requested bookmobile service as it is a reliable and engaging way to enhance literacy initiatives.

To learn more about mobile services at St. Louis County Library, please visit

Media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer McBride, Assistant Director, Communications at 314-994-3300 ext 2250 or





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