If the readers won’t come to the library, the library must go to the readers. And that’s exactly what the Fraser Valley Regional Library is doing.
On Tuesday, the public got its first peek at LiLi — a customized car tricked out into a rolling multi-media library — when she showed up for the ACE Silent Auction and BBQ at the Agassiz Legion.
But this car is not a bookmobile – LiLi is a little hotrod with very ‘un-library-like’ enhancements, including a full-vehicle wrap and undercarriage glow, a permanently mounted 40” plasma digital display screen, external music and public address system, a built-in bookshelf with free new books and a ‘gadget bar’ complete with tablet computers, eReaders, audiobook technology and laptops.
“The library is not as quiet as you think,” said Smitty Miller, tour manager of Library Live and On Tour. “We know we need to be relevant, and we are willing to do what it takes.”
But surprisingly, the whole project isn’t geared toward kids. It’s geared to adults who may not be adopting the library into their lifestyle, but could be.
“This is an adult literacy tool,” Miller said.
There are adults who may have issues with literacy, and there are those who only buy their own books.
So, LiLi will be doing a bit of outreach, taking Miller from place to place through the Valley, encouraging people to try some new ways to enjoy reading. There are Playaways, which are stories loaded onto individual pods. You can borrow those, plug in your earphones, and listen to your favourite books on tape.
Several school board members dropped by the open house to support ACE, and to check out LiLi in person. Harrison Hot Springs councillor Zoltan Kiss, who sits as on the FVRL board for the Village, was also on hand.
“The whole concept is to get her out and get her to bridge the gap,” he said.
“We will attract them anyway we can.”
LiLi will be officially launched in Abbotsford next Wednesday, in a gala affair at the Abbotsford Visitor Centre. The mayors from all 15 FVRL communities have been invited to attend. That event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.