FOLLOWING a well-worn plot, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council appears to have arrived at a compromised, but happy, ending by continuing to run a mobile library service.
The service, once back up and running in accord with COVID regulations, will be less frequent and with a smaller vehicle.
The mobile library was taken off the road in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and replaced with a home delivery service.
The shire saw an opportunity to review the mobile service and save some money at the same time (“Mobile libraries may be shelved” The News 18/1/21).
However, feedback from the public was mixed, with 52 per cent of respondents preferring the home deliveries and 32 per cent favouring the weekly mobile library which visited 16 towns.
In a report to council’s 7 September meeting, community services manager Jo Bradshaw and library services team leader Marnie Umbers said about 10 per cent of those responding to the survey wanted a hybrid of the mobile library and home delivery.
An expenditure chart they prepared showed that using a smaller vehicle for the mobile library and using volunteers to make home deliveries could save about $150,000 a year.
In April, Cr David Gill failed to get a seconder for a pre-budget motion to allocate $360,000 to reinstate the mobile library service (“Budget up for comment” 6/4/21). In 2015 the shire gave its mobile library semi-trailer a $285,000 makeover (“Mobile library off for ‘supersizing’” The News 9/6/15).
Ms Bradshaw said last week that the “library team” was investigating the most appropriate replacement vehicle that would be able to access more locations across peninsula “as well as attend festivals and events”.
“The internal fit-out design will look to accommodate as many library resources as possible using shelving and removeable trolleys,” she said.
Cr Gill said he wanted to “send out a big thank you to our community for supporting the continuation of the mobile library, an essential part of bringing people together in isolated parts of the shire where services including state government public transport are hard to find”.
“[The shire’s decision] is a terrific compromise, more destinations using a smaller more cost effective vehicle while the COVID initiative dial-a-book volunteer service also continues,” he said.
The mobile library will be back on the road when restrictions are lifted, but library members can book for home delivery or click and collect.
To book a home delivery, put books and other items on hold via the library catalogue on the website and select home delivery from the collection options available, or call your local library for assistance.
Details: ourlibrary.mornpen.vic.gov.au or call Mornington Library on 5950 1820; Rosebud 5950 1230; Hastings 5950 1710; and Somerville 5950 1638.