Well, after going through all the local authority websites listed on Direct.Gov I found 10 proper specialised Children's mobile libraries (Actually, I think that it is 11 because Leicester has two vehicles), 13 School library service vehicles, and a handful of other shared/dual purpose vehicles. There are some that have come and gone, some that were only meant to be for a short season, just summer holiday storytelling. I had a brief conversation with a school librarian last week, who informed me that when she worked at Staveley in Derbyshire, she has spent some time during the summer holidays on the mobile library. This is something I must follow up. She only did it a few times because she said she suffered from travel sickness and felt very queasy travelling around in the van.
So, the question is, is ten enough or is it just the right number to do a really good investigation? Of course, there may be others that I have not yet unearthed and I will carry on my mission of seeking out children's mobile libraries not only in Britain, but across the universe. The ones that I have found are in Bexley, Birmingham and Blackburn, Edinburgh, Leicester (x2) and Manchester, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Southampton, Stockport and Swansea. There are more School library service mobiles, but I am not sure have relevant they are, or what effect they have on children because they only visit schools, and then at most termly, or merely twice a year. The number of books they allow the classes to borrow varies from just one or two per child, to lots (well, that is not a very specific sum I know, I have the figure 500 in my head, not per child, of course, but per school, or per class, and I can't quite remember what the exact allocation is). They certainly operate to a different model, but that could be something to compare, if 10 is not enough.