Going mobile: Jugglers offer novel welcome"


"It still has the new bookmobile smell," gushes board chair Melissa Dickens as representatives of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library prepare to cut the ribbon on a new bookmobile. In a Downtown Mall ceremony, the specially modified 2006 Ford E-450 ELF brought out the compliments– and the jugglers.

Members of the Air Raid Juggling Club dazzled the crowd at the January 20 unveiling. According to the library's marketing expert, Jackie Lichtman, the jugglers meet every Wednesday night at the Central Library downtown. "No flames," stresses Lichtman, "but everything else goes."

Among the jugglers was a veteran from the college circuit, Mark Nizer. "Very rarely do I know everyone in the audience," laughs Nizer, unleashing some flaming torches.

That perked up the crowd, but it wasn't until mayor David Brown started tossing a few pins that the graybeards in the audience let out a whoop.

Members of the Renaissance School were on hand for musical accompaniment, but the real star, of course, was the $180,000 vehicle.

Replacing a 15-year-old school bus, the new bookmobile was jointly funded by the City, the County, and the Friends of the Library. Unlike the old one, the new bookmobile is handicap accessible thanks to a wider aisle and a retractable ramp. And thanks to a MotoSat dish on top, it now offers satellite access to the circulation desk back at the home office.

The old bus will be auctioned. An activist group called the Virginia Organizing Project hopes to raise enough money to buy it, load it with books, and take it to the Hurricane Katrina-devastated Gulf Coast.

Realtor-juggler Aer Stephen

Ross Bollinger, Sean Zimmer, Jameson Zimmer, and Mia Gale

Supervisor Dennis Rooker, Friends president Peter McIntosh, and director John Halliday

The Ewings of Milton: Tanya, Joel, David, Stephen, and Philip

Tom Whitlock and George Tramontin take it all in.

Drivers Willow Gale and Adam Rogers circulated more than 18,000 books last year.

World-famous juggler Mark Nizer tried using a fake name, but we Googled him.