17th October 2017

New van arrives for mobile library service

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A new van for Shetland Library was officially revealed today and will take to the road on Monday.

The van, bigger and better than the 10-year-old one it is replacing, will be on the North Mainland and North Isles run.

Executive manager of the library service Karen Fraser said it was a “super” vehicle, with an easily accessible entrance, more windows, more battery power for the computer and a heater.

Vice-chairman of the education and families committee George Smith cuts the ribbon of the new library bus with help from driver Annette Shearan (left) and manager of mobile library services Douglas Garden. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Vice-chairman of the education and families committee George Smith cuts the ribbon of the new library bus with help from driver Annette Shewan (left) and manager of mobile library services Douglas Garden. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The mobile service, she said, was “very important to customers and very busy”.

The honour of cutting the red ribbon across the entrance went to South Mainland councillor George Smith, who stressed the importance of investing in the library.

Mr Smith said: “[Libraries serve] a really important part in learning to read for pleasure and giving information, and bringing services to those further away and not able to travel.”

He said the mobile library would make sure these people were not disadvantaged, and said it was “not just a repository for books and information”.

It also served as a meeting place, Mr Smith said, “really important for those who canna travel”.

He added that he hoped the council would continue to invest in the library service.

Ms Fraser said the library budgets, like all the others, was under pressure and “efficiencies” had to be made, but the £100,000 van, bought through the fleet management unit, was essential as the old one was “beginning to crumble”.

Librarian Annette Shewan, who will be driving the van, said the new vehicle had a “better balance between books and storage space”.

She was impressed with the extra step and the fact that the suspension lowered to allow easy entry and she added: “I haven’t had a heater for two years.”

Mrs Shewan emphasised the social side of the service, a “big part” of which was home delivery to the housebound.

She said: “It [the library van] has always been very popular and well used. You go into people’s houses and end up helping them with their computer … giving information is what we do.”

Mrs Shewan said the service was still popular in spite of the advent of the Kindle.

The other library van, which serves the South and West Mainland, is nine years old and may have to be replaced in the coming years.

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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