Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28th - Day Eight - On the Road

Practicum Day 8

Site: Mobile Library
hours worked: 8
hours to date: 51

The mighty engine strained against the weight of a modified cargo truck full of large print, western and romance novels as Sid lurched the mobile library out of the driveway early last Thursday (B) morning. I was seated in the library function chair that faces the inside of the bus, observing the stacks of books and magazines that obediently stayed put while Sid drove up and down the hills of eastern Auckland. Thursday (B) is a busy day on the mobile with eight stops to make. The morning stops were to relatively quiet neighborhood locations that afforded Sid time to show me the collection and some of the functions on the computer. The mobile library has the capacity to do everything a desk at City Center branch might do. It has a computer equipped with cellular internet so the circulation and hold functions are integrated without delay. This proves to be useful since the mobile has a biweekly (I began to enjoy the term 'fortnightly') schedule and many patrons make lists of requests.

The mobile library has special parking spots designated with the day and time of the stop.

The mobile library is yet another example of responding to community needs. Sid drives four days a week and sees an averages of 33 people per day over 8-10 stops. I found that he knew, before they even got on the bus, who would be coming and whether they would be late or early at the stop. He knew the patrons so well that he set aside books and authors he knew certain patrons would really enjoy. The patrons eagerly came onto the mobile to greet Sid and chat with him about their news, while Sid asked about theirs and passed greeting onto anyone who wasn't able to make it this week. Senior citizens in Auckland can get a Gold Pass for unlimited free use of the buses and trains which many use to come to the library. Even so, I have to think that Sid's customer service has a lot to do with how the use of the mobile library by senior citizens has increased in the last 18 months. Outreach to children is in progress. Stopping near schools hasn't been as successful as hoped. No teens at all use the bus.

You can see a little bit of the bulletin board with notices of interest.

The mobile also collects returns which are processed as would happen in the library. Since the entire fiction collection is floating, anything returned to the mobile library stays on the bus. This is okay since the readership is fairly consistent. Large print, magazines, romance and westerns dominate the mobile collection. In regard to magazines, it seems better to have more subscriptions to weekly or fortnightly magazines than even the monthly titles since this improves selection for popular topics. Doreen also helps with this service by selecting materials based on Sid's feedback. She makes visits to some of the rest homes and retirement communities that are on the route so that they know what kinds of services are available when Sid stops there.

in the staff room
hot chocolates today: 1 (I was thirsty when we got back at end of the day)
hot chocolates to date: 10

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