ABOS Expands Its “Reach” in 2020 To Celebrate Everyone Who Provides Outreach To Their Communities


By: David Kelsey, President, Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services

One thousand and fifteen attendees attended the 2020 Virtual Conference of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), the largest conference turnout in the history of the ABOS organization, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020. Attendees gathered virtually from across the United States (plus countries like England and Canada). The 2020 ABOS Virtual Conference broke down barriers, as it permitted individuals who could not attend previous conferences due to cost and travel restrictions. The virtual conference allowed entire bookmobile and outreach departments to attend, rather than just one staff member as seen in past years. Over 65% of registered attendees shared that this was the first ABOS conference that they had ever attended.

ABOS leadership stuffing conference swag bags

This was an exciting year for the ABOS organization. Association membership grew by more than 30% by the launching of a new membership campaign. Emphasis was placed on engaging members through social media and Facebook, which saw its page likes almost triple. The organization spearheaded Virtual Bookmobile Day and National Book Bike Week, new tactics to reach more individuals serving in the outreach field, especially during the pandemic. In addition, ABOS revamped its awards program, secured new vendors/sponsors, and formed new partnerships including Little Free Library, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and Libraries Without Borders.

2020 ABOS leadership

What’s in store in 2021 for ABOS? David Kelsey, the 2021 ABOS President, shares that, “My goal as President during 2021 is for ABOS to continue to expand our ‘reach’ to include everyone who facilitates any type of outreach services for their library – whether bookmobile, outreach van, book bike, senior services, school services, marginalized and underserved populations, or any or all types of outreach in between. ABOS is the national organization for anyone and everyone that does any type of bookmobile and outreach services. ABOS is a family, and we welcome all those who want to join.”

David Kelsey, 2020 ABOS President-Elect

Upcoming Events and Programs in 2021:

  • ABOS Awards Open (and introduction of new awards celebrating senior services outreach, youth services outreach, book bikes, and support staff) – February 1-May 19, 2021
  • Continuing Education Webinars focusing on EDI topics – expected launch of March 2021
  • Virtual Bookmobile Day - April 7, 2021
  • Book Bike Week – August 2-6, 2021
  • ABOS Conference, St. Louis, Missouri – October 12-14, 2021
  • StoryWalk® Week - November 15-19, 2021.