Books and pencils jostle on their shelves. Bumps and potholes in the road produce an earthquake of rattling and tapping noises. The dry smell of books is masked by the bright-fruity smell of Ada Adair's perfume. The rattling stops as she parks the bookmobile and waits for people to climb on to look at her selection of books.
It's not exactly the smallest library but with just 38 shelves and three seats, counting the black stool tied to the back of the passenger seat, the white van known as the bookmobile brings books, movies and audio CDs to Harrison County residents who can't – or won't – make the trip the other way.
Ada, 59, who has operated the bookmobile for the past 10 years as a staff member of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library, thinks of it like a traveling billboard.
"There's a lot to do at the library -- it's just getting kids here," she says.
Ada mostly communicates using Facebook, where she sets up appointments with people like Cynthia Perkins. Ada brings books to Cynthia's home at Southside Apartments a couple times a month.
"I really like this bookmobile because I don't drive," Cynthia says.
No-one knows how long the bookmobile has been around Harrison County, but the concept goes back as far as horse-drawn carriages. A scrapbook depicts the program's evolution since 1964.
The bookmobile made a total of 288 stops in 2018 and lent 6,626 books to the community. It shakes out to more than one book per Cynthiana resident by the most recent estimation.
Ada's route includes regular deliveries to nursing homes, apartment complexes, laundry mats and grocery stores. The bookmobile makes a weekly trip to local elementary schools so students can check-out books for use in the classroom.
"Some teachers just want kids to experience getting on the bookmobile because this is their only chance," she says.
On an overcast Wednesday morning during the week of Halloween, a class of 1st-graders lined up outside the bus, waiting their turn. Six children fit inside at a time, just shy of elbow-to-elbow as they discuss the kinds of books they want.
"I wish I could find a Pokemón book," a boy says to his friends.
Each child finds a book, returns to their classroom, and the library moves on to the next stop.