Libraries Unlimited is seeking support to get a new Mobile Library on the road – bringing books and a lifeline to 80 rural communities in the South Hams and West Devon, including Dean Prior and Buckfast. The current mobile library, affectionately known as Gertie, is going into retirement. This van has given 14 years’ service to rural communities, but sadly is becoming more and more difficult to keep on the road. It carries 2,000 books to rural communities every week and last year, 11,368 books were borrowed by people, young and old. It is much more than a book delivery van though. The mobile library is an educational, social, wellbeing, and cultural service.
“It’s a good service, even if you don’t think you’ll use it yourself, you may have an elderly relative that has no access to a big public library. Seeing as we’re so rural, it isn’t easy, there’s no public transport to speak of for most of the villages, so it’s a really useful service and well worth supporting” said Sandra from Beeson, mobile library customer.
During lockdown the mobile library team phoned every library customer, and since July it has been on the road again. For the first 2 months to keep customers and staff safe they delivered bags of books, and since September they’ve been allowing people to come back on board to choose their own. Customers have been incredibly happy to see the return of the mobile library; many say that using the service not only provides their reading material but also gives them the opportunity to meet and talk to other people.
Libraries Unlimited has found a second hand van to replace Gertie. The mobile library has been purchased thanks to a £15,000 grant from Devon County Council. It’s only done 29,000 miles, so will give years of service to our communities. However, it’s currently geared for under fives inside and out and help is needed to get it back on the road to serve all the community. It desperately needs to be renovated to meet the needs of our book lending services and the communities who use them. Libraries Unlimited need to fundraise £15,000 to help get this new mobile library on the road.
Donations will be used to:
remove existing internal lockers, furniture and shelving aimed at babies and under fives
reinforce the walls
source and fit new shelving systems
adapt the seating
replace the floor covering and re paint the van inside and out
To contribute to this fundraising campaign, visit this JustGiving site.