On the road with the Kerry Mobile Library Service.

A mobile library service for north and west Kerry was introduced in 1975 and a second mobile service covering the areas of south and east Kerry was established in 1976.

According to one member of the mobile library staff they operate a valuable service for Kerry people who live far away from a branch library. It is important for these people get an opportunity to use the library and borrow books. So he concludes, the mobile library is the best way of providing a library service to isolated people. 

While the service is costly to run it is a vital way of bringing the services to the community and is enjoyed by the public.

Tá mé sásta go bhfuil na daoine ag úsáid an seirbhís seo. 

There are 3,500 books available for people who use the mobile library and another 1,500 on loan to readers. The librarian makes a note of any book requests and these are brought on the next visit. On an average day the mobile library makes eight stops and the length of stop ranges from an hour in large towns to a 15 minute stop at a crossroads.

Once a fortnight the mobile library visits Ballylongford, a village near Listowel in north Kerry. One elderly woman uses the mobile library because the nearest branch library to her is in Listowel. As this is seven miles away from Ballylongford, she appreciates having the mobile library option.

The mobile library arrives into the town of Tarbert after lunch. Librarian Lucy Holly explains how the mobile library differs from a branch library, who uses the service and the most popular genres borrowed.

The most popular thing is light fiction or any of the best sellers when they are available on the mobile.

Writer and broadcaster Seán McCarthy use the library twice a month and considers it a godsend although he admits the selection leaves a lot to be desired.

The mobile library makes a further two stops before it reaches its destination in Tralee.

This episode of  'Súil Thart' was broadcast on 11 May 1987. The reporter is Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.