Erin Green Author - blog
On Thursday, 27th February, I spent a delightful day travelling around a small area of Birmingham courtesy of the mobile library unit and their fantastic team.
I'd asked if I could be shown the ropes on how the mobile unit functions and to potentially meet and greet some of customers who use the service on a regular basis. I have to be honest and say, I was blown away by the organisation and sheer complexity of their home base; not only is it home for the mobile library crew but also the 'Library at home' scheme. I was given tour of the home base by the wonderful Jackie prior to our 'rounds' for the day - it was a treasure trove of delights for any book lover. I secretly wanted to get locked in over night so I could trawl the book shelves which contained everything you could think of from audio books, magazine subscriptions, reference books, a full range of diverse languages plus boxes of jigsaws!
As I walked about in amazement at hearing the number of library users supported in this manner, the number of requests, the sheer volume of material which is dispatched my mind began to comprehend just how vital such library services are. My love of books has been central to my life, so I couldn't imagine not being able to attend a local library due to health reasons, circumstances or difficulties with my mobility. The library services offered by Birmingham must feel like a life line to some users.
By half nine we were out and about on the road in the mobile unit following a simple timetable for the day. And, what a joy it was! I was lucky enough to meet and chat with so many people during our six stops. I was amazed at the number of returns they brought back - which they'd read in just one week! Seriously, I read about 30 books a year which is nothing compared to some of the readers I met on our travels. It was wonderful to see library users waiting for our arrival, collecting requests and having books reissued. I loved that the mobile team knew the names of every person using their service. There was a genuine rapport and friendship shown to each user, real care and consideration - that personal touch which is so important. One of my highlights of the day was towards the end when the mobile library was filled with tiny little children and their parents choosing their weekly selection of books - ah bless them, you forget how excited tiny people get about books.
I had a super day. Which was made more delightful by the fabulous duo, Jackie and Bash, who put up with my endless questions. I arrived home as excited as the children waving their plastic library cards ready to share my observations with anyone who would listen.
Once again, a huge 'Thank you' to the team for granting me a wish and enabling my visit to happen. I shall see you soon.
For further information about Birmingham Library services: click here.