Fingal County Council’s Library Department launched three new Mobile Library Vans on Tuesday, January 23 outside Blanchardstown Library.
The new vans replace three older mobile libraries, which have clocked up on average 17 years and many thousands of miles on the road.
Designer Peter McBride, Cllr David O'Connor, Cllr Roderic O'Gorman, Cllr Lorna Nolan, County Librarian Betty Boardman, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Mary McCamley, Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid, Director of Housing and Community Margaret Geraghty, Alistair Hamill of Nu-Track Ltd, Senior Librarian Lilian Whelan, Lindsey Bolton and Richard Bolton of Nu-Track Ltd
The Mobile Library Vans are a valuable service to those in rural areas, schools, crèches and residents with limited access to public transport. They also play an important role in developing new neighbourhoods and communities.
The Council have invested one million euros in the new Mobile Library Vans which can hold up to 4,000 books each. Technological advances also allow staff to check availability of books in every local authority library in the country.
Mobile Library Van Librarian Kathleen Ryan explained the importance of the vans for residents of Fingal: “The new Mobile Library Vans were developed to meet the increased need for technological advances in Library Services as well as the needs of those who do not have access to a local library branch. The new vans offer residents a link to wider library services as staff can check availability of books in other libraries. This is part of Fingal Libraries’ efforts to offer the best standard of customer service while improving the technological resources in order to meet the changing needs of library users.”
The vans were designed by Nu-Track, a Northern Irish company who make wheelichair accessible vehicles. Each van also has on-board Wi-Fi and visitor seating available for library users who need access to the internet on their phone or tablet.
During the launch at Blanchardstown Library, children’s entertainers and storytellers were there to perform for visitors. Many of these regularly visit primary schools with the Mobile Library Vans to make books a fun experience and foster a life-long reading habit among children.
Also in attendance was Fingal County Council Chief Executive, Paul Reid. Welcoming the launch of the vans, he said: “We have an extremely dedicated and pro-active team at our Library Department. As well as being a source of information and books, libraries offer a space for communities to spend time together and connect in a relaxed and peaceful environment. The Mobile Library Vans bring this service to residents who may be more isolated or do not have immediate access to books. Our friendly and experienced library staff are on-hand to help, to advise and to ensure that users get the greatest benefit from their visit.”
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Mary McCamley was also present at the launch and said: “I am delighted to see so many people coming to experience the new vans here today. Libraries are an extremely valuable resource to people across Fingal of all ages and backgrounds. Since 1994, the mobile library vans have been an asset for Fingal County Council to ensure all residents have access to the reading and information materials that are available at local branches. The launch of these vans represents the continued effort of Fingal County Council in offering convenient and interactive services to our residents.”
People of all ages were present to see the new vans at Blanchardstown Library. The exterior of the new Mobile Libraries have made a complete departure from the previous version with a bright and colourful design. There is also an awning attached to the vans which can be used at festivals and events.
The new Mobile Libraries visit each stop on a weekly basis and began service in December 2017.