Stevie has worked for the mobile library service for twelve years. I caught up with him on one of his regular trips to Harris.
The Western Isles Mobile Library Service supplies books to people who are unable to use a branch library because of distance, age or disability. There are normally three vehicles on the road, visiting communities in Lewis, Harris and the Uists.
However, one of the library vans was recently retired, having reached the end of its serviceable life. This has had a knock-on effect: with only two vans to cover the islands, the usual three week interval between visits has doubled. With councils continuously being pressed to trim budgets and make spending cuts, it’s not yet clear if the old van will be replaced.
The vans carry a variety of books to cater for all ages and interests. In addition to new books purchased for the mobiles, some stock is exchanged at regular intervals to provide as much choice as possible. Although only a limited quantity of books can be carried on the vans, the resources of the whole of Western Isles Libraries are at the disposal of users.
The Request Service gives access to most titles in Western Isles stock and through the inter-lending scheme to that of other libraries nationwide. Whenever possible, requested material will be delivered on the mobile library’s next visit. If supply of inter-lending material doesn’t coincide with a mobile visit this may be posted direct to the readers’ home.
Stevie says by far the most requested book at the moment is ‘I’ll Keep You Safe’ – the latest novel by Peter May – which like his best selling Lewis Trilogy, is set in the Outer Hebrides.
Step aboard the mobile library for a whistle stop tour of Lewis, meeting some of the van’s regular borrowers along the way…
Previous posts in the WORK: Outer Hebrides series: