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Help Keep Libraries Unlimited On the Road

Help Keep Libraries Unlimited On the Road

Libraries Unlimited launches a crowdfunder to get a mobile library on the road – bringing books and a lifeline to 80 rural communities in South Hams and West Devon. 

The current mobile library, affectionately known as Gertie, is going into retirement. This van has given 14 years’ service to rural communities, but sadly is becoming more and more difficult to keep on the road.  

It travels 806 miles every month, stopping at 80 different places across the South Hams, skirts around Plymouth, travels across Dartmoor into West Devon and goes North into parts of Teignbridge too.  

“The mobile library is really important, because a lot of the areas we go to are very rural. It keeps people in touch with the outside world and they can do something that they love, reading the books. I’ve got 80 different places that I go to and there’s people at everyone single one.”Heidi McCoy, Mobile Library Assistant (Ivybridge), Libraries Unlimited 

This mobile library carries 2,000 books to rural communities every week and just last year, 11,368 books were borrowed by people, young and old. It is much more than a book delivery van though. The mobile library is an educational, social, wellbeing, and cultural service. 

“It’s a good service, even if you don’t think you’ll use it yourself, you may have an elderly relative that has no access to a big public library. Seeing as we’re so rural, it isn’t easy, there’s no public transport to speak of for most of the villages, so it’s a really useful service and well worth supporting” said one mobile library user.  

Libraries Unlimited has found a second-hand van to replace Gertie. It’s only done 29,000 miles, so will give years of service to our communities. However, it’s currently geared for under-fives inside and out and we need help to get it back on the road to serve all the community. 

“Purchased at £15,000 from eBay, just a tenth of the cost of a brand-new mobile library, this 6-year old van will improve the reliability of our service for rural communities. It desperately needs to be renovated to meet the needs of our book lending services and the communities who use them. We need to fundraise £15,000 to help get this new mobile library on the road” Rachel Gee, Service Development Manager (Rural Services), Libraries Unlimited. 

Donations from the crowdfunder will be used to: remove existing internal lockers, furniture and shelving aimed at babies and under fives; reinforce the walls; source and fit new shelving systems; adapt the seating; replace the floor covering; and re-paint the van inside and out.  

The personal connection and benefits communities experience from using this local mobile library service is abundant: “Books, reading is so important to everybody and to bring out the library to people is fantastic”; “It’s a good place that people meet up who perhaps don’t see one another”; “It’s really good getting books of your choice, whenever you want. I like having it very much.” 

Donate to this essential service and keep the mobile library going for future generations.

To give by text donation: Text BOOK to 70460 to donate £3 

Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message 

You can also make a donation in person at any of our mobile libraries or donate by cheque (payable to Libraries Unlimited South West) to Mobile Library C/O Finance Team, Exeter Library, Castle Street, Exeter, EX4 3PQ.   

The second-hand van has been purchased thanks to a Devon County Council £15,000 grant. With the help of our communities we can get it on the road. 

For further information and our full contact details please visit our web page Find us on Facebook – Libraries Unlimited. 

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