Muskegon, we have a gift among us. He's come to us as many others have and he's brought a unique approach to some thing very traditional and broke every mold along the way, just like we are famous for here!
From a distance, you see the hat, the beard and the tatt's. Add in a Harley shirt and a jovial approach to life and you have who you have. Jim Dewald Jr. fits right in pretty much anywhere and in breaking molds....Jim holds a Library Science Masters Degree and has taken that job to new heights as he holds the keys to the Muskegon Area District Library Bookmobile which tours Muskegon County visiting schools, communities that serve the elderly, distant areas without easy access to library services and the icing on the cake, super fun community engagement events where the masses can come and see the efforts being made to further literacy.
Jim kinda fell into his career, we'll let him explain that in the video you see below. Life's twists and turns all lead us to places we never imagined, but, when he found what was hiding in books, the call was pretty clear that he wanted to be involved in helping others with their quest for knowledge, entertainment, life enrichment and literacy. Who says any of that requires a cardigan? Under the direction of a name pretty familiar to Muskegon folks, Marti Feribly, who ran Hackley Public Library, Jim began his career in Mount Pleasant and never looked back.
His path led him to Muskegon and the chance to be in the very unique role of operating the Bookmobile. What's unique? Well, he is the touch point to people who might otherwise never get to see what a library offers. Books, movies, games for different systems. There are computers for use on board, there are printers for use, access to the web and above all there's Jim. He's a comfortable, approachable and relatable person who's unguarded outlook is welcoming and inviting to anyone who might consider going to a "library" a little bit stuffy.
Jim has a regular schedule of stops around Muskegon County, including beautiful Cedar Creek Township where I caught up with him. It rumbles a little...there's a generator going to keep the Bookmobile powered up, but Jim's story is an amazing one. Take a listen.
Jim, we welcome you with open arms and to take a look at some current stats...you're carrying on an important legacy. There are less than 650 Bookmobiles left in the USA and maybe 18 in Michigan. To be able to bring all that is included in the modern library right to the heart of parts of the community that can't access their services is the job. To find someone who's filled with the joy, excitement and passion that Jim is....that's the bonus that we have in Muskegon so...when you see the Bookmobile, make sure you stop in and say hi. Bring the kids and show them "Where the Wild Things Are" and let Jim lead them into a lifetime of literacy. The MUSKEGON AREA DISTRICT LIBRARY BOOKMOBILE SCHEDULE IS ONLINE HERE, and you can click on the image below to fine it too.