A new €230,000 mobile library launched today (Monday) by Wicklow County Council will carry over 3,000 items and have a “bounce pad” providing easy internet access to users.
The mobile library service is used regularly by 1,500 people as it visits different parts of rural Wicklow.
Speaking at the launch, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Irene Winters, said: “The service has an emphasis on social inclusion as it reaches the most remote areas of the county on a regular basis. This element has been utilised by the Council to highlight services and bring them to an audience that otherwise would have been very difficult to reach.”
She added that mobile library membership automatically provides an avenue of access to other services which all 30,000 members of the Wicklow Library Service can avail of. Members are entitled to log on from a home PC or Smart Device to avail of:
- Downloadable audio books
- Online newspapers from across the world in 30 languages
- Online language learning
- Online business information
Cllr Winters said that by investing €230,000 in the new mobile library, Wicklow County Council was reinforcing its commitment to its rural public. “It is my wish that, commencing tomorrow, this new vehicle will serve the rural areas of Wicklow over the next 10 to15 years as its predecessor has done”, she stated.
Mr Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, said it was encouraging, despite the increased use of electronic devices, that the libraries continue to grow in popularity with people borrowing in excess of 600,000 items a year.
The Council, he said, continues to invest in the library service, with new libraries being developed in Wicklow town and in Rathdrum. These two new libraries, along with the new mobile library, represented a capital investment of €6m.
He pointed out that almost 50,000 items are borrowed each year from the mobile library which has a membership of over 1,500 and annual visits of 23,000 from the public it serves.
“The library of today provides a critical function for citizens of towns, cities and rural areas”, he said adding: “Wicklow County Council is well-served with 13 branch libraries through the county; six of which are full-times while seven are either part-time or single staffed.”
Cllr Gail Dune, Chair of the CCSD SPC, said Wicklow County Council’s first mobile library took to the road in 2004. It has served the people of Wicklow well over the past 15 years with 400,000 kilometres clocked up.
He said he was particularly pleased that the new mobile library – supplied by Cahill Truck Bodies of Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny – includes six solar panels which will provide the primary source of energy for the vehicle’s internal lights and electricity.
In addition to carrying almost 3,000 items, Cllr Dune pointed out that the vehicle will have the best in modern technology, including a “bounced pad” providing easy internet access to the public along with an electronic notice board which will be used to showcase and promote Wicklow County Council events and notifications.