Public library services have marked Scotland’s first Mobile Libraries Day today in a national celebration designed to promote the valuable role of mobile library services.
Services across Scotland arranged special mobile library stops to coincide with Mobile Libraries Day 2019. Culture Perth & Kinross held a free author visit on their mobile with crime writer Lin Anderson; West Dunbartonshire hosted bestselling author, Jack Monroe with a Food Matters event; and Orkney Library organised a fun day with its mobile library, affectionately known as Booky McBookface.
Mobile Libraries Day has been launched by the Scottish Library and Information Council to ensure mobile library services continue to be a valued part of public library provision in Scotland.
Research commissioned by SLIC found that mobile library services are greatly valued by users and were described as a “lifeline”. The Libraries on the Move report found that 98% of mobile library users rate the service as very or extremely valuable. Users valued the personal service from staff and the resources available. Older people described the service as beneficial to overcoming feelings of loneliness and isolation, and families praised the service for helping with literacy, reading for pleasure and doing things as a family.
There are 49 mobile libraries in Scotland, operated by 22 library services, including Orkney, the Western Isles, High Life Highland, Edinburgh and Scottish Borders. Combined, the 49 mobiles operate across a network of 3,000 stops. There are almost 37,000 active mobile library users who made more than 274,000 visits to a mobile library during 2017/18.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government values public libraries and the importance of enabling people to access them regularly and for free. Mobile libraries promote digital inclusion, improve attainment, and help to tackle social isolation and loneliness.
“By ensuring these vital services reach even the most remote areas, mobile libraries give people a sense of belonging in the community, improving literacy, and bringing families together to enjoy reading for pleasure.
“I am pleased mobile libraries are getting the recognition they deserve on Scotland’s first ever National Mobile Libraries Day.”
SLIC Chief Executive Pamela Tulloch added: “It’s great to see so many services around Scotland get behind the first ever Mobile Libraries Day and I hope it has reminded people in communities across the country that their public library service offers more than books.
“Similarly, it is vital that decision makers and policy makers are aware of the many ways that mobile services benefit communities and can help to achieve local and national priorities around learning and attainment, health and wellbeing and cultural and leisure experiences.”