It is a holdover from another time, a way to bring books to the people when there were fewer libraries and transportation was more difficult. My husband and I were surprised to see a Mobile Library in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, when we visited there last month. More commonly called the book mobile, the service provides books to residents of the south shore of Nova Scotia, stopping in Mahone Bay once a week.
There was a time when book mobiles were common throughout Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick also provided the mobile library service to residents at one time. In fact, Newfoundland had a ‘book boat,’ delivering books to the isolated outport communities along its coastline. Now the only mobile service remains in Nova Scotia.
On that beautiful autumn day, the Mobile Library was parked by the bay, amid the tourists and their sight-seeing adventures. As I watched, several residents came to the modified bus with their books and left with a supply for another week. I looked inside.
There is a good supply of books on the bus and residents can request particular books just as regular library patrons do. The setting was bright, tidy and pleasant and the librarian was helpful.
Today in Prince Edward Island, there are 26 libraries located throughout the province. Islanders don’t live far from the service no matter where they live. In our community, there is a new library, opened recently, which provides programs and services to the people in a modern facility.
However, there is also an island-wide service called Libraryenroute, which according to the government website, is a van, equipped with “a wifi tech bar with iPads, tablets and laptops, so families can make use of our online services, sign up for a library card and participate in story time.”
This service promotes literacy and the library services in the province. The van travels around the province to festivals and events.
During a quick visit to the library last week, I requested ebooks, large print and audio books be available in the book club kits which are used by the many book clubs in the province. Some bookies need non-traditional materials. Kits contain ten books and a leader’s guide, which book clubs can use for six weeks. This service is well used in the province.
The book mobile brought a smile that day. While the evolution of library services continues, sometimes the old ways work just fine.