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    Leading the drive for a Framingham bookmobile

    Ruth Winett (left), president of the Framingham Public Library Foundation and library trustee, with Jo-Anne Thompson, a foundation member and library trustee who chaired the last annual appeal that raised money for the bookmobile project.
    Joel Winett
    Ruth Winett (left), president of the Framingham Public Library Foundation and library trustee, with Jo-Anne Thompson, a foundation member and library trustee who chaired the last annual appeal that raised money for the bookmobile project.

    As president of the Framingham Public Library Foundation, Ruth Winett is leading the fund-raising effort for a new bookmobile, so her lifelong passion for reading can be accessible to all city residents.

    “This is just another way to promote literacy for people of all ages, in all ways, with reading being the cornerstone,” said Winett, a marketing consultant, former English teacher, and longtime library trustee who helped found the Framingham Public Library Foundation in 2010.

    The city’s last bookmobile launched in 1954 and was decommissioned sometime later due to budgetary issues. Since that time, library volunteers have been able to serve only a handful of patrons who have limited access to the library, particularly children, seniors, individuals with mobility issues, and those without transportation.

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    Staffed by librarians, the bookmobile will make up to a dozen scheduled stops each week from spring through fall at the senior center, assisted living facilities, low-income housing areas, and events such as farmers markets, MetroFest, and Concerts on the Common.

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    To date, according to Winett, the foundation has raised two-thirds of its $150,000 goal. The funds will be used to purchase, retrofit, and operate an accessible bookmobile offering more than 2,000 books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs, as well as a touch-screen computer, Wi-Fi, and programs such as story hours and outdoor movies.

    An anonymous couple has pledged to match up to $20,000 in donations from private individuals to the Framingham Public Library Foundation through March 20. In addition, Barnes & Noble at 1 Worcester Road in Framingham will contribute a portion of sales made in the store on March 16 and online at bn.com/bookfairs between March 16 and 20. Those who wish to purchase items for the bookmobile’s collection that day may request a bookplate honoring the donor.

    According to Winett, the vehicle is expected to attract 7,000 visitors in the first year.

    “Our main library and the Christa McAuliffe Branch are both very busy places,” she said. “A bookmobile will help provide even more opportunities for lifelong learning.”

    For more information, visit fplf.org.

    Cindy Cantrell

    Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.