If you live in Boreen Point, Glasshouse Mountains, or anywhere in between, chances are the library is coming to a street near you soon. The libraries are an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Libraries to make library resources available to the greater community. The region has three mobile libraries, each servicing a dedicated region (north, central, and south). Best of all, a visit to a mobile library is absolutely free.
Our latest visit to the mobile library was at it's regular stop on a Wednesday afternoon at Chancellor Park Marketplace, Sippy Downs. All three mobile libraries maintain a strict schedule each week, so you if you miss its visit, you'll need to wait another seven days for its return.
Fortunately, most visits are for at least an hour so you will have time to browse the collection before it packs up and heads to its next destination. We arrived shortly before it's 1:30pm opening time and there was already a small queue of eager bookworms lined up.
From a distance, the library appears like an oversized RV or motorhome, and the interior has homely touches as well. Cushions and chairs sit scattered amongst shelves showcasing the library's collection. Friendly staff are on hand to assist you with borrowing, renewing, sourcing and returning items. The van we visited (the 'south' mobile library) even had 3 computers available for use.
A selection of toys and childrens DVDs are available for loan
Because of the restricted space, the mobile libraries don't offer the range of materials you might find in one of the region's 10 other permanent branches. However, the library does offer an online reservation service. This means you can browse the library's entire collection online in the comfort of your own home, place a hold on the items you would like to borrow, nominate your collection location and pick them up at a mobile location convenient to you. Once you are done with the items, you can return them to the mobile library at its next visit, or to any of the other branches in the region.
Overall, the Sunshine Coast mobile library provides a great service to the wider community, and is a great activity for families on a budget.
Things to know before you go to the Mobile Library:
1. Anyone can visit the library, but if you want to borrow items you need to be a library member.
2. Membership is free and open to everyone: residents, ratepayers and visitors (just make sure you bring a current form of ID showing your residential address when you visit a branch).
3. Borrowing is 100% free.
4. The library not only offers books, it also offers magazines, newspapers, puzzles, games, toys, CDs, DVDs and videos.
5.For a wi der selection of items, browse the library's online catalogue and place a hold on your items in advance.
6. The public can borrow up to 30 items for 3 weeks, and there is a limit of 15 reservations and 2 toys per person. Special provisions apply for teachers, book clubs and aged care facilities.
7. There are several steep steps required to enter the library. People with mobility frames and wheelchairs, and parents with prams, would find entry difficult.
8. Obviously, being a mobile library, there are no toilet facilities, so plan ahead.