Mobile libraries roll up for annual muster
A CONVOY of prime movers roaring into Ipswich is not so out of the ordinary - except these ones were not loaded up with beef for the slaughterhouse or fruit and vegies for the markets.
The annual Mobile Library Muster provides a chance for operators from across the country to gather and discuss the latest technologies and issues affecting the delivery of services to the most remote areas.
About 50 people - some from as far away as Albury-Wodonga on the NSW-Victoria border - arrived in Ipswich at the weekend for the conference, and to check out half a dozen of the Queensland mobile libraries as they arrived in convoy at Brothers Leagues Club on Saturday afternoon.
Ipswich City Council libraries committee chairman David Pahlke said the theme for this year's muster, Driving the Change, provided an insight into the impact of technological and societal change on the mobile library service.
"This includes changes in technology, such as the introduction of social networking and other applications that our clients now use, as well as the way in which communities are developing and evolving," Cr Pahlke said.
The library service's response to the January floods became an interesting topic for discussion during the weekend.
A number of the Ipswich mobile library's stops, including Goodna, Karalee and Grandchester, were severely affected.
"We worked hard to ensure the mobile library was back on the road as soon as possible," Cr Pahlke said.
"For a lot of our members, the service was one of the few pieces of stability and normalcy in their lives and we wanted them to know they could rely on it to be there."
For Upper Murray Regional Library driver and librarian Margaret Ross, the self-defence aspect of the conference was extremely valuable.
"Because a lot of the time we are out there on our own - we have to be able to defend ourselves if the unexpected should arise," Mrs Ross said.
The Albury-Wodonga local is one of many women across the country who takes on the job of not only running the library, but driving the enormous trucks that carry them to remote communities. Ipswich's mobile library is 18 metres long and carries about 7000 items including books, magazines, DVDs and CD ROMs. The library covers about 20,000km a year, visiting 13 communities with 19 services every two weeks.
In the past year, 30,000 Ipswich residents used the library's services.