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Bookmobiles: Equipment

Generator Maintenance


  • Performance generally declines 1% for every 10° above 85°–100° (depending on the settings)
  • Generator may run up to 120° (but not at optimal performance)
  • Power output generally declines 3.5% for each 1,000 ft above sea level or 500 ft (depending on settings) 
  • Check electrical load and reduce if possible
  • If possible, park so that the generator and generator compartment are in the shade (or such that the compartment is on the shade side of the bookmobile)


  • Coolants and oil need to be topped off regularly
  • Check intake ducts/ louvers/ screens and clear them of debris
  • Open generator compartment door, and, if safe, slide the generator out on its tray. This allows for more air circulation for the generator.
  • At the end of each stop, before turning the generator off, remove the load from the generator by turning off everything that is drawing power from it such as the a/c or computer. Allow the generator to run for two minutes before turning it off to allow the generator to cool down.

Additional Actions:

  • purchase a fire protection mat to place under the generator. These are typically sold to protect decks from grills or fire pits. They provide a layer between a hot parking lot and the generator.

Extended Closures

Tips for the vehicle sitting for an extended period of time compiled by Summit Body Works.

  • The vehicle should be plugged in for the duration of the shutdown if possible. If not, at least every two to three days it should charge for 8-10 hours.
  • Start the vehicle and run or take for a 20-30 minute drive at least once a week. 
  • Generator- Run at least once a week for an hour while unplugged from the shore power. 
  • Heat/AC - Run each for at least an hour once or twice a week. 
  • Check all maintenance schedules: vehicle, generator, HVAC systems, etc. 
  • Has the unit been washed on a weekly basis? It needs to have the street grime taken off of the graphics to keep those looking new. (If sitting in direct sunlight, perhaps park in a shaded area or tarp the vehicle.) 
  • Batteries: Are they flooded or AGM? If flooded they will need distilled water added to them. 
  • The vehicle should be powered down to the fullest extent possible. 
  • It should be left plugged into shore power to keep the battery charge maintained. 
  • We would recommend putting dryer sheets throughout the vehicle to keep the air freshened and it will also detract from the rodents messing with it. 
  • Mix a bottle of Cayenne Pepper and water and spray any exterior wiring to once again detract from rodents as they like to nibble on wiring. 
  • If you have any fresh, grey, or black tanks it will need to be drained to prevent molding within the tank. 
  • Periodically check the roof of the vehicle after any inclement weather for any damage. (Hail or hard wind/rain storm.) 
  • Check the exterior including tires for any obvious issues.  

New Bookmobile Guidance

Learn the pros and cons of today’s most popular vehicles from a library service perspective. You will hear how choosing the correct van, truck, bus or trailer can improve your service efficiencies, provide reliable services, and keep your budget intact. Presenter Michael Swendrowski will share practical tips on which vehicle types are best suited for your region, patron groups and/or service models. He will also reveal which vehicles offer alternative fuel options and share general cost ranges for each.

In this webinar, you will learn about popular conversion options, systems and features being built into the latest outreach vehicles. You will hear how choosing the correct features can improve your service, offer staff efficiency and reduce your operating costs. Presenter Michael Swendrowski will share practical tips on which features are best suited for your particular service and any service concerns that may be associated. He will also share the relative costs associated with each and even discuss the latest trends! Today’s bookmobiles, mobile libraries, kidmobiles and mobile STEM units can be outfitted with all the latest technologies, systems and features, but are they right for you? The choices you make will have a short-term effect on project costs and a long-term effect on usability!

Purchasing a mobile library is a complex, lengthy process, during which your library will probably work with another city/county department to select, award, and monitor the build out of a unit. The webinar will outline the steps involved, your likely partners, and what you can control, and what you cannot.