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story.lead_photo.caption Visitors aren't currently allowed on the bookmobile, but the shelves are still full, with the driver ready to deliver holds. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

The pandemic hasn't stopped the book-lovers of Auxvasse from getting their hands on new reading material.

On Thursday, the brightly painted Daniel Boone Regional Library bookmobile rolled into Auxvasse to deliver 81 reserved items.

Because the space inside is small and doesn't allow for social distancing, the library isn't allowing patrons aboard.

Patrons are simply asked to make holds ahead of time.

"We have lost a few people at each stop who don't want to go take the time to put a book on hold," driver Darin Fugit said.

Fugit can also hop aboard to grab something from the shelves if a patron requests and he has a copy.

"Usually I have one or two people at each stop, they tell me they want a mystery from a best-selling author," Fugit said. "Or, they know the authors and they want a Patterson and I can go in and pick books out and bring them out."

There's a good chance Fugit might be able to find what a reader wants, even if they can't browse themselves — the 33-foot-long vehicle has about 3,000 books, DVDs, CDs and more inside.

Even during the pandemic, an average of 20 people take home about 100 books every time the library on wheels rolls into town.

"It's better than not coming out," Fugit said. "There's a whole group of people at each stop that want to be served and want books and movies and audio CDs. Most of them are pretty grateful that we're coming out."

Fugit, who has been driving the bookmobile to Auxvasse and Harrisburg for three years, knows most of the people who stop by to see him twice a month — he knows not only the names and faces of the retirees, homeschool families and avid readers, but also what they like to read.

"You kind of get to know people," Fugit said. "Even in the last three years, I'm watching people's children grow up. It's nice to see them go from board books to chapter books."

The mobile library will next set up shop Dec. 3 in the United Security Bank parking lot in Auxvasse. The bookmobile comes every first and third Thursday from 1:30-7 p.m. Elsewhere in mid-Missouri, the bookmobile stops in Hallsville, Harrisburg, the North County Shopping Center in Columbia, Rocheport and Sturgeon.

DBRL's physical locations, including the Holts Summit Public Library and Callaway County Public Library, are taking additional precautions as well. Monday, DBRL announced visits will be limited to 30 minutes, half the previous time limit for patrons. The libraries continue to offer curbside hold pickup.

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