Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

A bag stuffed to the brim with books and audiobooks sits beside the door at Elkhorn Adult Foster Home, a silent sign that this is a day for books.

On this, the second Wednesday in October, Bookmobile driver Steve Kunze arrives with another bag full of reading material for the residents.

Caregiver Pam Peyron listens for the crunch of gravel, a telltale sign of the Bookmobile's arrival.

It comes twice a month, on the second and fourth Wednesdays.

"The library contacted me at the first of the year," Peyron says. "It's been an exceptional program for us."

One of her residents, Virginia Hendersen, has always been an avid reader. Her sight is now affected by macular degeneration, so she reads by listening to audiobooks.

"She burns through five to seven a week," Peyron said.

This is when she praises Kunze, who she said makes sure to bring a variety of books.

"He gets them from all over," she said. "And he gets (the same) books for the night nurse so she can discuss the book with Virginia."

Library director Perry Stokes said the Bookmobile expanded to serve local elder care homes about two years ago.

"It's been really well received," he said.

The Bookmobile runs Tuesdays and Wednesdays, hitting every stop twice a month.

"It goes everywhere from Burnt River area to Oxbow," Stokes said.

The drivers' reputations are spreading.

"I often get calls from people who compliment our Bookmobile drivers," he said.

Because the Bookmobile doesn't have a computer onboard, the drivers must keep track of special requests until they get back to the library.

"It's important for them to become aware of our patron's preferences," Stokes said.

It's that personal touch that Peyron praises.

"They are so dedicated," she said.