Cape Breton Regional Library is developing a new Outreach service that will provide community-led library programs to senior’s homes, schools, child-care/children’s programs, and community groups throughout Victoria County. Library staff will work with each organization to develop programs that meet their needs, whether it is lending a box of books to a classroom, teaching middle school students how to access eBooks, or giving a presentation to a local service club about programs happening in library branches. Interactive programs such as arts & crafts programs and maker-workshops may also be offered.
Upon realizing that the current converted school bus turned bookmobile was due for replacement, and seeing significant changes in usage patterns, CBRL library staff in Victoria County spent several months researching what kinds of library services were in demand in the rural area and what alternatives to bookmobiles may exist. Results from a user survey conducted over the summer and library usage statistics demonstrated that people want more library programming in their communities. They want to see technology programs, arts & craft programs and book clubs. The Outreach Service will partner with existing community groups and facilities to offer these programs in areas which are not served by a branch library.
The new Outreach Service will use a brand new passenger/utility vehicle which will replace the existing Victoria County Bookmobile. This vehicle will offer a flexible way to deliver library services throughout Victoria County communities. Cape Breton Regional Library still operates a bookmobile in Cape Breton County which will now be serving Victoria County communities North of Smokey. Although the new vehicle has not been acquired yet, it is expected to arrive and be ready to hit the road in the next few months.
During the first year of the new Outreach Service, library staff will be organizing public meetings in communities throughout Victoria County to get feedback on program planning. We also encourage community groups, schools, child-care/children’s programs, and residential care facilities to contact library staff to discuss how we can bring the library to your organization or event.
Why do some communities get bookmobile service but not others?
When polling the community we found that many people living in the communities North of Smokey exclusively used the bookmobile and did not regularly visit any other library branches. For these communities we thought it necessary to continue the bookmobile service. Those schools that could fit into the schedule of the Cape Breton County Bookmobile were also included.
Does this mean there is no library service in my community?
The Victoria County Outreach service will be visiting communities throughout Victoria County just as the bookmobile did but it will not have a regular route. Instead of roadside stops, the Outreach Service will target special events, community groups, senior’s homes, child-care/children’s programs, and schools.
What kinds of programs will be offered through the Outreach Service?
The programs offered by the Outreach Service will be determined in consultation with community groups and can vary from interactive group workshops to exhibit tables. Some Sample Outreach Programs are listed here.
Can I borrow books at an Outreach Event?
Library staff will make an effort to bring books and other materials to members who request them. If you know the Outreach service is coming to an event near you and would like to request material please contact staff directly.
I like to browse for books. How can I do that without the bookmobile?
Depending on the Outreach Event there may be a small selection of books available to browse and borrow. CBRL’s recommended reading lists and new book lists can also be accessed online and Library staff are quite happy to help members in their search for the next great book.
Why is the bookmobile being replaced with a smaller vehicle?
The Victoria County Bookmobile was purchased in 2010 and since then the needs, availability and expectations of library members have changed. The smaller vehicle allows us to customize our service to better meet changing community needs. For example we can carry supplies for maker-workshops one day and books for a seniors home on the following day. As the new vehicle does not require a special license to drive, any of our staff members will be able to operate it, which means we will have more flexibility with scheduling events on different days of the week. The smaller vehicle will also be more fuel efficient and less costly to maintain.
Will the Outreach Service attend events outside of Victoria County?
Currently the Victoria County Outreach Service is focused on Victoria County communities; however, library staff from other CBRL branches and headquarters do attend events throughout CBRM. To have the library attend your event or group please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org