A new mobile library that has better disabled access, better emissions and a new stock of books will be in service for the first time next week.
The vehicle, which has new artwork by local artist Ian Rolls, will be staffed by Danny Sinclair and Alan Guy, two drivers who will introduce the new facility to regulars on the routes.
Chief Librarian Pat Davis said: “This service is a lifeline for its users and is highly valued by the community it serves. We are delighted to have a new, modern vehicle that gives us the opportunity to take the service out to the parishes. It has a light, attractive interior and much easier access with fewer and lower steps and a lightweight ramp for wheelchairs.”
The new Fiat vehicle has the latest fuel-efficient engine and is lighter and smaller than its predecessor and easier to navigate around Jersey lanes. It has replaced the previous mobile library, which had been in service for more than 12 years and was becoming increasingly expensive to service, repair and maintain. The vehicle is owned by TTS, who have the expertise to provide a full maintenance programme, and leased by the Jersey Library Service, which is part of Education, Sport & Culture.
The mobile library stops at more than 30 places around the Island each week, and is open to all library card holders. It stocks more than 1,500 titles for all ages including adult fiction, large print, audio books and a wide range of books for young children. In 2011, there were around 7,500 visits to the mobile library and 12,000 books were issued.
Deputy Rod Bryans, ESC Assistant Minister with responsibility for culture, said: “This is a real practical example of the public sector reaching out and helping the community. In particular, this is a great way to introduce children to books because it enables them to discover the world of literature on their own doorstep.”
A customer survey was carried out during the summer and routes will be revised and updated as a result, with new stops introduced in January 2013.