If you see a brightly decorated bus zipping around the streets, it might be one of Auckland’s mobile libraries.
Auckland Libraries has run a longstanding mobile and access service, but recently launched a new innovative programme to better reach the community.
They’re particularly focusing on children and young children through new 'Waka to Schools' initiative, bringing mobile services to 20 primary schools, which includes starter membership cards, fun roadshows, mentoring for student leaders and no book fines.
Recently, one of the regular schools in the programme, Papatoetoe West, had an unexpected guest tag along for the bus visit – ex-pupil Mayor Phil Goff.
The Mayor stopped by his old school to check out the book bus and chat to the kids about how they were finding the mobile libraries. He tried his hand at being a librarian helping check out books, compared book choices (his favourite was Hairy Maclary) and admired one of the new buses, designed as a Waka.
“It was great to visit my old stomping ground at Papatoetoe and check out Auckland Council's mobile library service,” says Mayor Phil Goff.
“I enjoyed talking to the kids, seeing their enthusiasm for reading and how our buses bring books to people who might have trouble getting to the library.”
“For us, it’s about being where and when the people are. Being flexible, responsive, and where we’ll make the most difference," says Jo Brewster, Manager of the Mobile Library Service.
About mobile libraries
The new mobile and libraries access service increased staff from four full-time drivers to 11 fulltime equivalents, moved from 9am-5pm weekday schedule to seven days a week on a combination of schedules and added two smaller brand-new vans on top of their three large buses. The Waka bus was based on ideas and artwork from school pupils.
This fresh schedule takes mobile libraries to places where they will have the greatest impact - not just schools but cultural, sporting and family events, with buses bringing along giant games and chill-out zones to entertain the kids!
Auckland Libraries also runs pop-up libraries in 39 aged care facilities and retirement villages across the city, as part of the mobile and access service.
Librarians and volunteers deliver hand-picked book collections, taking reading requests and offering assistance with using libraries’ digital services.