Monday, 22 March 2010

The Edinburgh bookbus

I have spent three days with the staff of Edinburgh's Access Services, riding around on the book bus with them. I think I may have scared off some of their customers, because places that I was assured were usually busy did not choose to board the vehicle that day. Well, I am accustomed to that sort of erratic behaviour by customer groups, but it was a bit sad not to see the system in full swing. I met Edinburgh's Reading Champion, Colm Linnaer, and saw the excellent work that he is achieving with disaffected children. There are definitely some "readers" being made through his efforts on the bookbus. The bookbus visits family and children's centres, special schools and secure units, places where children do not have any other access to library facilities.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The West Sussex book buses

Last Week I was kindly hosted by West Sussex and spent two days touring sunny Worthing (yes, it was sunny) and one day in sunny Crawley (cold, but sunny). I also had the privileged to take part in two Word Book Day events at pre-schools. The book buses visit underfives settings on a three weekly schedule. The children come on in small groups listen to one "big" story together, then have to opportunity to browse the books, handling them, sharing them and being read to individually by library and setting staff. There is a great deal of partnership between the setting and the bookbus staff. This was demonstrated by the World Book Day activities. The activities were jointly planned, setting staff prepared each setting with craftwork by the children, and a story was read by bookbus staff, then acted out by staff, children and me.

The Southern bookbus is quite large and staffed by two specialist assistants. The Northern bookbus is small, staffed by one library outreach worker and only operates on Mondays and Fridays because it is shared with the Families and Children's service. This seems to work well.