Today, our Alcester Mobile Library will be completing its ‘B route’ which is one of 12 mobile library routes operating from a base at the rear of Alcester Fire Station.
Our driver will spend the first minutes in the morning completing his daily vehicle checks, methodically working through a checklist of possible defects. Do the headlights work, is the exhaust hanging off, do we have the correct amount of wheels etc?! Joking aside, this is most important part of the day so let’s leave him to concentrate. Fortunately, everything is looking hunky dory this morning so we move on to the next job….
A quick double check of the shelves tells us the paper backs look tidy, the large print books look on point, the romance books are in colour order, and the children’s picture books look, well, just gorgeous!
Kettle…check…sandwiches…check…fuel…check…. we’re ready for the off.
The driver straps himself in, fires up the hearty Peugeot Boxer engine (sometimes on the first attempt), slips her in to first gear and we’re off to the first stop of the day.
Todays route starts off with 3 quickfire stops in Bearley and we’re due at Grange Road at 9:35. As we turn in to Grange Road, perfectly on time of course, the customers in Bearley are chomping at the bit, book bag in hand, ready and in position. We’d expect around 10 regulars across the first 3 stops and with each stop only lasting 20 minutes, the driver has a lot to deal with. Books for return are processed on the PC first and put to one side. The customers will then get to work, raiding the shelves, looking for their own personal favourite author. “Have you got the new Jeffrey Archer” one says, “I can’t stand him” another replies. The driver tactfully intervenes and politely informs the customer that he will order it and it can be collected in 3 weeks time.
Books chosen and requests collected, the customers exit the mobile using the handy retractable step and grab handle. The driver has a couple of minutes spare to neatly replace all of the returned books back on the shelves. 9:55 on the clock, “On to the next stop” the driver exclaims!
It’s now 10:45 and our brief but fun packed visit to Bearley is complete. A quick check of todays timetable reminds the driver that his next destination is Snitterfield where there will be another 3 stops before lunch. There is just enough time on the journey to catch the second half of pop master on Radio 2, todays score was 12, the driver could have done better. The first stop in Snitterfield is Snitterfield Nursery. The Mobile Library Service visits a number of nurseries across Warwickshire and they are always enjoyable! The children seem to get a real buzz from climbing on board and choosing their own books and sometimes we even let them stamp the return date in the book, a sound and sensation never forgotten!
We move on to Church Lane next and then our first reversing test of the day, at the Village Hall. The driver perfectly guides the rear of the vehicle past a parked car and is perfectly in line, he’s nailed it.
After a busy morning our driver is ready for lunch and today he has found a very pleasant quiet layby to enjoy his sandwiches, a cup of tea and of course, enjoy a good book.
The first stop after lunch is an absolutely beauty and one of our favourites, Wootton Hall in Wootton Wawen. As we cruise down the drive here, the driver feels a million dollars, he has arrived! Over the course of an hour at Wotton Hall we serve another 10 customers and takes another 2 requests for Richard Osman’s newest book.
For our final stop of the day we swing south to the village of Wilmcote to a very tidy row of bungalows, called Swanfold. This is one of the quieter locations that we visit and once the couple of regulars have been and gone it gives the driver a chance to catch up with his paperwork and shelve any remaining books.
All that is left is the short journey back to the base in Alcester and a chance to get everything ready for tomorrows route.
*You can find your nearest mobile library stop using the search function on our website…