The new bookmobile with artists (from left to right) Nikki McClure, Ira Coyne and Jay T. Scott.

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

The downtown Olympia Timberland Regional Library now has a child-size, handmade bookmobile built by local woodworker Jay T. Scott, with a painting of otters on the back by artist Nikki McClure. On the side is an aphorism hand-lettered by Ira Coyne–“You Otter Be READING!”–and a poem, also lettered by Coyne:

“The more you read the more you know
The more you know the smarter you grow
The smarter you grow the stronger your voice
When speaking your mind or making your choice.”

Timberland public relations specialist R.J. Burt said, “Jay T. was the idea guy and put in the most work, from blueprint to building. Ira did all the lettering. Nikki created the fabulous ‘Otters.’”

The project started when Youth Services Senior Librarian Mary Rulewicz asked Scott what he thought about buying a kid-sized bookmobile, a product she had seen at other libraries. They looked at pictures of other projects and decided they could do better.

“I built the bookmobile in my wood shop. I made it modular so it would be fairly easy to move and could fit through the library’s doors. Nikki created the design on the back. Then it moved over to Ira’s shop for many hours of painting and lettering. Finally, I spent an exciting morning, helped by library staff members, moving the parts into the library and assembling the bookmobile.”

The bookmobile is now in place, and Rulewicz said the children are loving it. “Oh my gosh,” she said, “almost every second of the day there’s a child in there reading or children with their parents reading to them.”

Rulewicaz said the otter theme is in keeping with what is already there. “We have Tony Angel’s carving of an otter family created from a huge piece of serpentine in our atrium. We have a piece featuring that carving by local artist Mimi Williams. Ira Coyne created a beautiful sign that hangs outside our front doors with otters. So I think that’s why both Nikki and Ira went for the otters on the bookmobile.”

Scott said, “I am continually reminded what an amazing library Olympia has, and I’m happy to live in a community that supports its special places, creative industries and local artists. This is the kind of project that can happen in supportive communities–people collaborate just because they want to make their place a little better.” He went on to say, “The Olympia library and librarians have given so much to me and my family and our community that it was my honor to return some of that love.”

Featured artists:
Ira Coyne
Nikki McClure
Jay T. Scott

What: Children’s bookmobile

Where: Timberland Regional Library,
313 8th Avenue SE, Olympia

When: 5-10 p.m., Oct. 3 and noon – 8 p.m., Oct. 4

How much: admission free, artwork for sale