Going back to my roots (yeah).
That song was in my head for days before I went out for the day with Victoria. I sang it in the shower before I set off, and every time I think of that day, it pops into my head again.
I was born and raised there and when people ask where I am from my instinct is to say Ormskirk, even though I have now lived more of my life in Blackburn.
I was excited to be heading to my childhood library to meet Victoria. Ormskirk Library was on my route to and from school for all of my school life, and for many years (like most children) I couldn’t pass by without walking underneath. I would have tried it on this visit, but it probably would have required intervention from the emergency services to rescue me.
I sometimes worry that my ‘we had a lovely day’ blogs might be getting a little tedious, but guess what? We had a lovely day. Thank you Victoria.
If I had my own Mobile Library (just putting it out there) I would be so happy if I could create an atmosphere on the van that was in any way similar to that which Victoria has. Her approach is friendly, inclusive, encourages sharing and learning and allows space for the unexpected to happen. I felt very much at home.
Many, many books in all forms came in and out of the library that day. I am still amazed and inspired by how passionate people are about reading and the pleasure it brings. I still haven’t read that (pigging) book I boasted about getting the other week. It has become a task that I face rather than an activity that I am looking forward to. The phrase ‘I will read that pigging book If it kills me’ has been uttered more than once. I have great admiration for people who are able to immerse themselves in a book. I think I may have to accept that I am not one of them.
We visited a nursery, retirement communities, a cul-de-sac, a primary school, a farm and many more places in Scarisbrick and out towards Churchtown. I love that the mobile libraries (in fact all libraries) are places where people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are welcome. They are such important places in our communities.
At one of our stops a woman told me that when they moved to the area and knew no one, they came on the mobile library and met other borrowers who have since become friends. The library was their link to their new community. Now they all go for coffee together after each visit and, as she said ‘it spread from there’. One of the same group said that ‘If I won a million pounds on the lottery, I wouldn’t move house and that’s because of the mobile library’.
Like all of the librarians I have met during the project, Victoria works hard to create the best experience for borrowers, making the most of the space available and providing new books as often as possible. She has introduced a ‘recommended’ shelf for books that are recommended by other borrowers, updates the notice board regularly with events. recipes and things of interest and has a ‘help yourself’ magazine shelf.
The more time I spend on the mobile libraries the more I recognise that there is a kind of partnership between a mobile librarian and their vehicle. I am told that some even go to say ‘hello’ to their old vans if they happen to be passing.
Oh, and there was a ferret, dogs, cake and a line dancing lesson. Mobile libraries really are special places and mobile librarians are special people.