Monday, 17 May 2010

I was there

The two links that follow are press reports about events at this year's Mobile Meet which was held on May 8th at Dewsbury. I found this year's particularly interesting and very useful from a research point of view. The day started with a talk from Baroness Boothroyd, one of my role models, a wonderfully strong minded woman who controlled the business of the house of commons like a powerful headmistress.

Baroness shares love of libraries - Dewsbury Reporter

Her talk showed her humour, warmth and no-nonsense approach to life. Part of her duties at the Mobile Meet was to present the awards for the new "Mobile library champion of the year awards", which was an idea that came to the Branch and Mobile Library Group of CILIP from an Australian visitor last year.

Mobile library champion of the year : Warwickshire News - Warwickshire Web

It was a good day for me because I met the staff of the two Powys Children's libraries that take books to children during school time during term times, then transform themselves into "The Book Runners" during holiday times. They consider that in that way they "Reach every child in the county". They had not brought their vehicles with them but that gives me a chance to visit them some time. I also saw the two Oxford children's mobiles. I will be visiting them on the first of June. Their latest vehicle is actually a mobile children's centre as well as a library and I will be very interested in visiting that.

One of the most surprising vehicles is the Bookstart story telling mobile from Sheffield. Unfortunately because they do not issue books and perform the functions of a library I can't count them in part of the research. The idea of a children's mobile library for Sheffield had been discussed, but it was considered impractical because Sheffield is such a large city more than one vehicle would have been needed. From my point of view, I consider that a worthwhile investment, but I think Sheffield libraries only had funding for one vehicle. It is remarkable, however, because it looks exactly like a zoo cage, or for those of us who remember such barbaric things, a travelling cage for a circus animal. The side lifts up completely to expose bars and a very inside which is stuffed full of animals, the soft toy variety. It's function is to go around distributing Bookstart packs and telling stories. It's aims are to reach the unreachable, promote literacy and tell parent s and children about the library service. If it cannot inspire children to read, then nothing will!

Here are some pictures of it!

The third vehicle that drew my attention was the North Tyneside children's mobile. This was a surprise because I did not know of that one. I think it is very unfair of authorities to start a new vehicle with telling me! However, this vehicle is staffed by a dynamic young woman, Rachel, who obviously loves her job. Like the West Sussex northern vehicle it is single staffed, but unlike the West Sussex vehicle it is BIG so I am filled with admiration of Rachel's ability to drive it. It visits children at schools and children's centres with the emphasis of providing a service to the individual child. It targets disadvantaged area's, hard to reach groups and schools that are not near a static library

It is unusual because the livery flows inside as well as outside.

A the end of the Mobile Meet prizes for best vehicles are awarded. This year the Oxford mobile children's centre won the innovation award, the Sheffield Bookstart promotional vehicle won best best small vehicle and North Tyneside won best livery and delegates' choice. A good day for children's mobile libraries.

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