Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Off to IFLA Conference: 19-23 August 2007, Durban, South Africa (part 4)

Parked outside the conference venue was a Mobile Library bus.
mobile library bus - front
mobile library bus - rear to front
mobile library bus - rear

I met Aron, a South African librarian with the Reading Awareness & Library Promotion (Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, North West Provincial Government). He immediately gave me a quick tour of the bus without my asking.
mobile library bus - Aron librarian

The bus won't be operational for another two months or so. When the service begins, it will ply the rural areas and farm schools where there are no community libraries.

Its inside was quite spacious inside the bus, comfortably accommodating my height (1.85cm). Sufficient aisle space for people to browse the opposite facing rows.

mobile library bus - interior
mobile library bus - interior - mid
mobile library bus - interior back

The bus will serve as a marketing tool to promote libraries that are under-utilised.
mobile library bus - canopy

It can used as an exhibition stand (participating in shows and events).
mobile library bus - banner
mobile library bus - side panel

The brochure also said the bus will be used "to celebrate national and international days, especially when the events are celebrated in areas where there are no libraries at all". And because the target audience is the farming community, the bus will also be deployed at "sod turning" events.

mobile library bus - driver seat

Nearer the driver seat is the wireless Internet workstation.
mobile library bus - Internet workstation

The bus holds about 2,000 items -- mostly books -- Adult and Young People collection (no Children's collection). Mix of Fiction and Nonfiction works. Non-lending materials were located at the back of the bus.
mobile library bus - books

mobile library bus - books - adults

They also lend out items from their Toy Library collection. Before being allowed to borrow the toys (the entire bag or single items within) borrowers have to be briefed by the library staff on how to use the items.
mobile library bus - toy library

The bus has a toilet and pantry area.
mobile library bus - interior - toilet

It also has a lift to bring up bulky items and also wheelchair-users.
mobile library bus - lift

The service will run daily (I forgot to ask if it would operate on weekends). The service would be managed by a bus driver (whose job is purely to drive and maintain the bus) and a librarian. The bus would return to the central public library for replenishment after each trip.

Younger Singaporeans may not know of a mobile library service back in the 60s and/ or 70s (I'm not too sure of the specific years at the moment). As more physical libraries were built, the mobile library service was terminated.

[Reference: Part 3]

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