THE first of Stirling Council’s two brand new mobile library vehicles has taken to the road, with number two due to arrive over the coming weeks.

The local authority has invested £340,000 in the state-of-the-art vans to replace the current 12-year-old ones, ensuring the Libraries and Archives Service can continue to offer this important facility to communities across the area.

Built by specialist manufacturer Nu-Track in Northern Ireland, the vehicles boast a ground-breaking design, incorporating the latest satellite system used by mobile banking services. 

Enhanced connectivity via built-in Wi-Fi make them ideal for IT use, while being equipped with a laptop corner, stowaway counter and stool will enable staff to help the public access the internet using mobile devices.

With extra seating for users and passengers, the vehicles will open up new possibilities for partnership working. 

The exterior design features the new Stirling Libraries and Archives branding, highlighting the huge potential of libraries to empower their users through the motto: “Imagine. Discover. Connect.”

The first vehicle, which was showcased at an international trade exhibition recently in Aviemore, started operations this week, following checks and staff training, with the second van expected to be delivered next month.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane, said: “I am thrilled to see the arrival of the first of these state-of-the-art vehicles, which will ensure we continue to take this important service to people across Stirling and extend its reach as far as possible.

“The new vans look fantastic and are equipped with Wi-Fi and the latest digital technology. This will keep them relevant for users in the 21st century, increase opportunities and enhance the well-being and regeneration of our communities.”

Stirling Libraries serve rural and urban settlements across a wide geographic area and the mobile libraries visit isolated communities, schools, nurseries and sheltered housing units with no local library.

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison, said: “We approved this substantial investment in these ultra-modern vehicles in recognition of the essential role libraries perform in our communities and to ensure they are fit for the digital age.

“I am really impressed at how these innovative vans have been kitted out, and I am delighted people of all generations throughout Stirling will now be able enjoy using them over many years.”

Figures published last year showed that people in Stirling use their libraries more than any other local authority on mainland Scotland, with 4,900 books loaned in the area per 1000 population.

Stirling was also ranked second in Scotland for the amount of library visits and enquiries, and scored highly in other categories, including requests and book acquisitions.

Cllr Kane added: “Libraries are hugely popular in Stirling, and we will soon be announcing an innovative way for residents to showcase their literary skills via the brand new library vans. Watch this space…”