Leicestershire’s mobile libraries celebrated 60 years!
It was the marking of a milestone and a celebratory day on Saturday 15th May at Snibston in Coalville. Roger Wilson, the then Chairman of the County Council celebrated by cutting a cake and meeting the library staff and past drivers. Visitors enjoyed storytelling and took a closer look at a mobile library from the inside!
FACTS about Leicestershire mobiles:
Leicestershire’s first mobile library set off for Melton Mowbray on 16 March in 1950 and brought books right into the heart of the local community.
60 years on and the service has gone from strength to strength - with more than 225,000 books loaned last year and 6 mobile libraries serving our rural communities with many people benefiting from access to a vast range of books, tapes and DVDs without having to travel more than just a few steps from their own front door!
These are some of the literary highlights loaned out by Leicestershire’s mobile libraries in 1950:
- C.S. Lewis - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
This was the first of the Chronicles of Narnia, one of the greatest of all series of children's books.
- Agatha Christie - A Murder is Announced
Now recognised as one of her finest Miss Marple stories, it was first published in 1950. Agatha Christie is now recognised as one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.
- Paul Brickhill - The Great Escape
Classic war story about a group of prisoners of war and their attempts to escape from captivity in Germany. It later became the basis for the classic war film "The Great Escape".
- Catherine Cookson - Kate Hannigan
The first heart warming family saga by one of the most popular authors in libraries in the 20th century. This was a familiar book on mobiles for more than 40 years.
One person who knows everything there is to know about running a mobile library is Fred Smith. Fred was a mobile library driver for more than 20 years before he retired in 2006 and remembers those days well, he said:
“I started driving a mobile library in 1986 and there was a great community spirit when I’d do my rounds, with people of all ages and backgrounds, many of them regular users, who would look forward to the library coming over.
“People were so grateful that they had the service because many of them weren’t able to travel to a normal static library I remember one lady came in with a book she’d borrowed in 1947 that she had just found and wanted to let us have back! Another time, a student said that if it wasn’t for the mobile library she wouldn’t have passed her university exams!
“No matter what the weather I would make sure that the library went out to the people – many of which have become my friends and whom I still keep in touch with.”
Other notable events of 1950 include:
- In February 1950 a general election saw Labour return with a majority of 5.
- Andy Pandy was first televised
- Come Dancing was first televised -.
- In May 1950 the number 1 was "My Foolish Heart" by Billy Eckstein.
- Marlon Brando made his screen debut in a little known film called "The Men"
- Elizabeth David, first cookery book "Mediterranean Food" was published.
- "Sunset Boulevard” starring Gloria Swanson, “All about Eve” starring Bette Davis and Disney's “Cinderella” were all released.
For more information about the mobile library service please log on to: www.leics.gov.uk/mobilelibrary
Page Last Updated: 12 October 2010