Savitri Santhiran has worked with the St. Paul Public Library since 2008. In that time she’s worked at several branches, including Rondo and Dayton’s Bluff, and she’s been part of the Bookmobile team for the past five years. Her official title is Community Services Coordinator, especially appropriate since she is often at the wheel of the Bookmobile as it makes up to 40 stops biweekly in the communities and neighborhoods of St. Paul.
Among the many things Savitri likes about working on the Bookmobile are working with a team and serving a lot of kids at the many school stops. The Bookmobile’s collection, which Savitri helps to develop, focuses on materials for pre-K through 5th grade. A whole class – 30-35 students – can be on the Bookmobile at one time, and each student may check out one book. In addition to stopping at elementary schools for up to 4-5 hours some days, Savitri and the Bookmobile make after school visits.
Savitri notes that Bookmobile patrons are unique; “for many of them, the Bookmobile is their only public library experience.” So she and her colleagues work hard to make that experience a rewarding one. The Bookmobile also visits public high rises and residences for older adults.
Savitri’s favorite thing about her role as Bookmobile Manager is “seeing how people are waiting for the Bookmobile to arrive — smiling and so happy to see it pull up. There’s a lot of positive energy around it.” She also enjoys the variety of stops and people, finding things that kids like to read and helping them learn to love reading. A parent of two herself, Savriti knows firsthand how important reading is to school success, and she’s an expert at finding books that even reluctant readers will like.
In addition to her library background and her experience in Youth Services, Savitri completed a thorough training process with Dakota County Technical College, similar to if she were driving a school bus. The current Bookmobile is 39 feet long, something she keeps in mind when finding parking spaces!
People are often interested in what librarians enjoy reading and which books/authors they recommend. Here are some of Savitri’s favorites:
Favorite book from childhood: The Twits by Roald Dahl
Favorite book of 2022: Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (nonfiction about the Sackler Dynasty)
Favorite authors: Gene Luen Yang (award-winning cartoonist), adult fiction authors Jhumpa Lahiri, Fredrik Backman, and Ann Patchett
For more information about the Saint Paul Public Library, visit https://sppl.org. For more information about the more than 100 public libraries in the seven-county Twin Cities metro, visit https://www.melsa.org/member-libraries/
Can’t get to a library branch and aren’t on a bookmobile route? Visit your library’s website to find out how to get a library card, then check out ebooks, eAudio, and emagazines from the MELSA Twin Cities eLibrary, available through the Libby app.