New mobile library to double as office

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

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A new Southland District Council mobile library will hit Southland roads next year with the added advantage of being able to collect council rates.

The council approved up to $130,000 in funding to buy and kit out a new bus to bring books to rural readers.

The van would also be used as a mobile Southland District office for ratepayers.

District council library manager Lynda Hodge said the existing bookbus, which has done more than 350,000 kilometres, was a full-sized bus which had been in service for more than 10 years.

The new vehicle, a Mercedes Sprinter van, would provide a more targeted service to customers and would be safer and more fuel-efficient, she said.

As well as catering for residents' library needs, the van would become a mobile office for the council and ratepayers would be able to make payments by eftpos, Mrs Hodge said.

Group manager of environment and community, Bruce Halligan, said the new van would enable staff to meet the needs of the mobile library's users and staff, in terms of headroom, work and display space.

It was hoped the van would have a working life of at least 10 years after being successfully configured for mobile library services in New Zealand.

Southland District Council chief executive Dave Adamson said the longer the old bus was kept on the road, the more chance it had of breaking down.

Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno said despite the Mercedes Sprinter costing several thousand dollars more than some other options, it would best suit the council's needs.

The new mobile library should be on the road by September 2013 after delivery and fitting out with shelving and accessibility equipment.

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- The Southland Times

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