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Mobile library faces a bumpy future 16.08.19

IN this weekend’s documentary, ‘Books Over Borders’, Newstalk goes on a road-trip with Europes first, and Irelands only, cross-border, cross-community mobile library.
In 2004, Europe’s first cross-border mobile library took to the roads, serving rural communities in Donegal, Derry and Tyrone. Funded by the EU’s Peace Programme, it was jointly conceived by Donegal Library Service and Libraries NI.
It is a prime example of co-operation between institutions who operate in different jurisdictions, working together to serve isolated border communities. A practical, all-island approach to pooling resources and providing a quality service.
However, this innovative and valued community resource that has trundled along our border roads for the past 15 years is facing a bumpy future. Brexit, and the unknown impact it will have on our borders and cross-border institutions, is creating some uncertainty and worry.
The cross-border mobile library is facing a bumpy future as Brexit creates some uncertainty and worry.
The service has become an important feature in the lives of the villages, rural housing estates and small primary schools that it stops at during its six days a week schedule. Many people have come to rely on it, not just for books but for the social element it provides. Much of this is due to the cheerful and knowledgeable librarian, Denis Doherty, who has built strong links with his clients over the years.
The mobile service also has a key role to play in promoting literacy, particularly among children who would otherwise be glued to a smartphone or tablet. The people who use the service have many reasons for doing so and would sorely miss it if it were gone.
Jim Doherty, ‘Books Over Borders’ producer, spent time travelling with the mobile library, calling at the schools and villages and meeting the people who use it. The border itself is still invisible and will hopefully remain so. As librarian Denis pointed out over one of many cups of tea “People are the same no matter what side of a border you’re on”.
‘Books Over Borders’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday August 18th at 7am, with repeat broadcast on Saturday 24th August at 9pm.
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