IT CAN be an isolating experience for librarians travelling around the country in a truck filled with books, but over the weekend in Wagga, they came together to discuss the future.
The Australasian Mobile Library Network Conference was the first of its kind held in Wagga for many years, with delegates informing and inspiring each other.
“We’re preparing for the future all the time as we don’t know what the future is going to bring,” Riverina Regional Library (RRL) executive director Robert Knight said.
RRL currently serves 61 communities across the Riverina and Victoria with two mobile library trucks.
The library’s digital future is not something to be feared according to Norwegian librarian Ruth Omholt.
“A mobile library reaches out to groups of people who normally don’t visit a library ... it’s very flexible, you can’t move a building,” she said.
Instead of an 18-metre truck, the Hordaland County Library in Bergen, Norway, uses a boat.
The boat doesn’t just carry books, but has storytellers, puppet shows, an author and theatre.
“It’s both library and a cultural event,” Ms Omholt said.
Author Susanne Gervay said the arrival of digital distribution should not be an excuse to destroy an important service which promoted literacy, reading and community.
As a child of refugees, Ms Gervay said the mobile library that visited her community provided her with an opportunity to understand the world and hoped this would continue for others.
She urged the community not to make the mistake of removing mobile libraries just because digital technology changed the delivery.