The Displaced Reader: on the Mobile Library

Post-quakes, the Displaced Reader reported back from several of our libraries, spurred on by the temporary closure of various of our buildings. Most of our libraries are now open, however we got Tania to wear the mantle of Displaced Reader to experience a day on the Mobile Library. Here’s her account.

Photo of librarian Sarah reading a magazine in the Library Mobile van.
Library assistant Sarah enjoys a break.

Today I’m heading out with Sarah on the Mobile Library. It’s a perfect sunny day.

We have to get organised to leave; most importantly we get the thermos flasks, coffee and milk ready for afternoon tea – it feels like we are packing up for a picnic. Oh, and don’t forget the extra crate of children’s books for today’s stops.

The two vans are lovely and bright. Although the van I get on seems rather small from the outside, I am amazed at how big it is inside! I think it’s like a Tardis but for books. It’s full of bright shiny nice books, DVDs, magazines and more – something for everyone.

Time to go. We head out through the hustle and bustle of Christchurch traffic with the odd crash from the back as something goes flying; that’s bumpy Christchurch roads for you. Now we are passing paddocks with little spring lambs (oh, so cute), and a lot of diggers and trucks (not so cute).

As we approach our first stop I find myself in charge of the CD player. OK, music on, then “flick that switch” says Sarah: a blast of music bursts from outside the van. Cool! I feel like we are an ice cream van piping out music to herald our arrival.

We get set up, and on come the first lot of kids. Sarah is helping the kids find what they want; trains and fairies seem to be the top choices today. I’m in charge of the issues/returns/ everything desk; I busily discharge the returns, while everyone makes their choices. This is bliss basking in the sun behind the desk; I can’t say I’ve ever been able to do that at any other library. We say bye to the first stop; time to head to the next stop.

Photo of the interior of the Mobile Library van
Shiny new books on the Mobile Library

There are cars for miles, and then I spot them: two cones strategically placed at the school gates. Sarah whizzes in to the park. School’s out, and it’s all go. Mums, Dads and kids all file in; time for their weekly library fix. Zip zap goes the issues machine: books, DVDs and magazines galore. Most of the kids have their own book bags, although Mums and Dads come in handy when they are filled and heavy.

3:30 and the school rush is over.

I now get chance to have a look around. I’m amazed at how they fit a bit of everything for everyone in: oh, look, a dog training book – just what I need. It all seems quite shiny and new. Sarah explains that because the Mobiles are the smallest libraries in the network they try to keep the best stock on board. The stock gets changed regularly to keep it all fresh and is also changed for different stops, depending on the customers’ tastes.

I had fun today working on the Mobile Library and definitely recommend you stop in for a visit. Check out the timetable for times and locations.

Library Assistant
Offsite Delivery Team

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