River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter from Ray Garrett

July 2008

Ray implores better use of the mobile library service

Dear Ray,

I hope through the auspices of the Village Pump you can bring to peoples attention the lack of use in some places of the Mobile Library. Whilst talking to the Librarian the other day, we were saddened to learn that there were several stops on his round of our local villages where no one made use of this valuable facility.

Perhaps it's a case of people not knowing it is available to them, or what is on offer on the shelves. Not only is there fiction for all tastes, whether it be romance, adventure, crime, science fiction, historical, westerns, or humour. There's also factual books on our area, people, travel, crafts, hobbies, computers, gardening, cooking, animals and pets, to name but a few. There are books in LARGE PRINT. Videos and DVD's available for a small hire cost. And to cap it all, if there's something you want that isn't on the van, it can be ordered for the next visit if it's on the library's list.

Now I know before people write in, that there are stops where the Mobile Library Van is well used, in fact at the Oxborough Road stop it has been said that tables, chairs and a coffee machine would be great as it's quite a social gathering place. But it's the lack of use at some of the other stops that is of concern.

Knowing how the powers that be think in these matters, their eyes are on the statistics and balance sheets, not on the benefit to those in the community who enjoy reading but cannot easily get into the main library. Those of you who already use the service will have noticed decisions have already been taken to fix something that wasn't broken, by changing the interval of visits from 4 weeks to 3, which means there is less time to read the books taken out. We very often find we have to get books reissued in order to finish the story we're halfway through. This does mean that the book is out of circulation for 6 weeks as apposed to 4 with the old system. Perhaps we should all write to the head of the library service to point this out!

Just as a point of information, if you are unable to get to the Mobile Library Van on it's next visit in order to return your books, you do have 3 week's grace or until the next time the van calls. Alternatively you can telephone the Library Service and, using the number on your library card, get the books reissued over the phone.

Returning to the statistics and balance sheets, if the service isn't used by as many people as possible, then history has taught us that those in charge will decide they can save money and look very efficient if they close this or that route because it's not being used very much, never mind the benefit to rural communities.

I hope this letter has raised awareness of a service that is out there to be used. Dates and times of stops can be obtained at the local Library, or contact the Library Service by phone 0844 800 8006, or log on to norlink.norfolk.gov.uk

Perhaps if I ask you nicely Ray, you could put dates and times of stops in the pump.

To coin an old much used, but unfortunately true saying to those who don't already avail themselves of this service, 'use it or lose it!'

Many thanks,

Ray Garrett

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