It has clocked enough kilometres to get to London and halfway back, but the most important trips Lake Macquarie’s Rover mobile library does are much closer to home.
The Rover, a customised van fitted out with books, DVDs, games and technology has welcomed more than 8000 people since its launch in June, 2017, including people living in remote parts of the City, the elderly and residents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Lake Macquarie Cultural Services Manager Jacqui Hemsley said the service provided easy access to library facilities, promoting reading and engaging the community in the process.
“We’ve found that a lot of people who might not visit traditional bricks-and-mortar libraries will use our Rover service,” Ms Hemsley said.
“But the van is much more than a mini library for a lot of people. It’s a chance for them to get out, interact with others and maintain contact with their community.”
The success of the Rover concept and the dedication of the staff who run it have been recognised this week with a NSW award of excellence.
Lake Macquarie Libraries staff members Lauren Boyd and Ruth Conroy were named the 2018 NSW Mobile Library Operators of the Year at the Australasian Mobile Library and Outreach Services Network Awards.
The award cited the pair’s work introducing community visits to the Rover service, as well as their pop-up activations at local events and the way they showcased new technology such as 3D printing.
Lake Macquarie City Council has provided mobile library services in various forms since the 1950s.
Ms Boyd said the current version was a valuable and versatile community asset.
“It provides an engaged and proactive service to a very broad cross-section of the Lake Macquarie community,” Ms Boyd said.
Ms Hemsley congratulated the pair on their win.
“Lauren and Ruth have clocked up more than 20,000km of travel in the past 18 months, taking our library services to all corners of Lake Macquarie,” Ms Hemsley said.
“Their hard work has helped the Rover become an outstanding success, and it’s something we will continue to build upon in 2019.”