People and Places
02/09/2020
Words, wheels and willpower

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So our bricks and mortar libraries are closed again and the mobile library is also out of action. In response to some serious lack of fresh ‘bookish’ encounters, we thought we’d bring you the next best thing while you’re waiting for our story hubs to start operating again. Here’s a little tale about our region’s library service, including the wonderful mobile library that continues to deliver narratives – outside of COVID-19 restrictions – right across the Peninsula.

Let’s talk words, wheels and wonderful willpower. The Mornington Peninsula Regional Library Service began in 1954 due to the resolve of a group of residents – they wanted a library service and, by jove, they were going to get it! With financial assistance from the Free Library Service Board and the State Government, this group of enthusiastic readers influenced the Shire of Flinders to provide a free library service operating out of Rosebud. 

The die was cast, and it was 12 years later that the mobile library service began operating under the Peninsula Library Service umbrella. Stories of love, hate, desire and triumph were taken on the road to Hastings, Flinders and Mornington to drop inside the minds of eager story-seekers ready to be educated and escape. 

The first vehicle to deliver books to hospitals and residents who were house-bound across the Peninsula was a station wagon. The first mobile library where people could actually select a book by stepping inside to peruse the 2400 titles waiting to be opened was a converted bus. This bus was replaced by the new-look ‘bookmobile’, which made its first appearance in Rosebud in 1982.

The Mornington Peninsula Regional Library Service received a $6500 special projects grant from the Library Council of Victoria in 1984 that enabled the mobile library to be connected by telephone to regional headquarters. This meant patrons could ask remotely about titles they would like to read. As a result, the Peninsula Regional Library Service was awarded the Victorian Association for Library Automation Award for innovative use of technology. 

Further State Government funding enabled the service to put a new semi-trailer mobile library on the road in 2000, and this current mobile library is stocked full of books, magazines, talking books, DVDs and music CDs available for loan. It visits 16 sites across the Peninsula each week outside of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The Mornington Peninsula Shire recently invited residents to have their say on how they envisaged the mobile library operating into the future. This integral part of our community, which connects people through words to create conversation and creative thinking, just keeps getting better. May the wheels keep turning.

LIZ ROGERS

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