Note: The Edmonton Public Library was recently named Library Journal’s 2014 Library of the Year.
The Edmonton Public Library is hitting the streets to bring exciting library programs and the latest technology to Edmontonians.
The first in a series of four literacy vans, epl2go will visit new neighbourhoods and underserved communities in Edmonton, creating a pop up library space for learning, discovering and creating.
“We don’t want location or transportation to be a barrier for any Edmontonian when it comes to using the library,” said Linda Cook, CEO of EPL. “This is a library on wheels for citizens without easy access to our buildings or website.”
epl2go features a full suite of services, including puppet shows and family storytimes, as well as digital fun with iPads, robotics, gaming and more. The van will appear everywhere from schools, parks and senior centres to hospitals, community leagues and more. There is even an opportunity to suggest an event or organization for epl2go to visit.
“At EPL we work to identify needs and meet them by creating community connections, and epl2go provides us another way to be out and about,” said Cook. “Think food truck – but for your brain!”
The launch of the first of four literacy vans – one for each quadrant of the city – has been made possible due to ongoing donations to the library. Approximately $250,000 is required for equipment and program costs for one van, and this ongoing project is one of two Centennial fundraising efforts on which EPL is focused.
“These areas aren’t close to a library, so when they see us we attract a lot of attention,” said EPL2Go’s community librarian Laura Young.
The van is making weekly visits to six spots this summer and will continue to expand its reach.
Young said each stop typically attracts 30-60 enthusiastic visitors.
Community librarian Laura Young, who’s driving the van to all corners of the city right now, said it’s great bringing it into areas that don’t have a branch nearby.
“It’s really gratifying to bring library service to people when they are so happy to have it,” she said.
While the van doesn’t carry a large collection of books, Young said it can be used to help teach early literacy and has computers to do digital literacy workshops anywhere.
“We can basically create a pop-out (computer) lab anywhere,” she said.