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Lyle Talbot, sitting in the Bookmobile.

Have you ever read a book so good you just had to share it with anyone and everyone who would listen? I read two books recently that I can’t wait to tell you about, but first, I want to tell you about a book whisperer who makes hundreds of books available to us every week: Lyle Talbot, our beloved Bookmobile driver.

Lyle began driving the Garfield/Kane County route in 2013, averaging 1300 miles per month, getting 4.5 miles per gallon. It’s a pretty big rig but nothing Lyle can’t handle. He retired from driving trucks in the state of Utah after 35 years, sometimes towing three trailers down I-15.

Comparable to driving an 18-wheeler, being behind the wheel of the Bookmobile is something Lyle is comfortable with. One big difference, though, is the load he’s carrying. He has learned from experience that if he takes a deep gutter going too fast, 300+ books will lurch to the floor, and it takes more than an hour to reshelve them and longer to reshelve them back in order.

Lyle has driven four Bookmobiles on this route and this current 18-year-old Bookmobile for three years. One was brand new, but he was putting so many miles on it the state transferred it to Cedar City, a much shorter route that wouldn’t put so much wear and tear on the newer vehicle. He is scheduled to get a brand new one next month, transported from the East Coast. I hope he gets to keep this one.

But being a Bookmobile driver isn’t just about the vehicle; it’s about the people Lyle serves. His favorite part of the job is helping patrons locate what they want. He says, “Being a people person is good therapy.” One of the extra-mile services Lyle offers his 1,400 per month patrons is a warm vehicle in the winter time. In order to achieve this, he leaves an hour earlier than scheduled so the interior can warm up when he arrives at his destination. He also arrives early at schools, parking before students arrive to reduce risk for young pedestrians.

Lyle has become an avid reader of a wide variety of books, but his favorite genre is adventure. His favorite authors are Clive Cussler, David Rosenfelt, CJ Box, and Dean Kutz. And that leads us back to what your favorites are.

Thanks, Lyle Talbot, for making so many books available to us through the Panguitch Library, interlibrary loan, and Libby, the online book service.

by K. Munson

Feature image caption: Lyle Talbot, sitting in the Bookmobile.

Karen M. Munson – Escalante

Karen is an associate editor at The Byway. She is fascinated and fulfilled by all things involved with writing. After graduating from BYU, she taught English at Escalante High School for three years. She pursues opportunities to write and support others in their writing. Karen has published three books with four more scheduled to be released in 2024. She and Reed are the parents of ten children and the grandparents of 35 grandchildren.

Karen is the author of two columns in The Byway, A New Twist on Healthy Mental Habits and Lyle’s Corner.