At a time where residents are unable to visit their local branch, the Lincoln Public Library is going to visit people.
Rosie is the name of a “rosy red” van that the library has newly enlisted as its mobile library unit. Decorated on the outside with stars and animals, Rosie will soon be equipped with books, games, a mobile hot spot, and the ability to power a 3D printer among other things.
CEO Julie Andrews said the library prides itself on being a community hub.
“We're the most used community service. We offer a level playing field for everyone, a welcoming environment for everyone,” she said. The library has no fees for library cards or programming. “Come here and be with us and be with your community, and learn and grow and do what you want to do. We pride ourselves on that.”
That's especially the case for youth in Lincoln, with whom Andrews said the library is constantly trying to connect.
She said the pandemic forced the library to take its operations exclusively online for most of the year. Although its online platforms were successful, she placed importance on having a physical library, as it serves as a place of connection and learning for many of the youth in the area.
Inspiration for Rosie, Andrews said, comes from other libraries that are doing the same thing.
Rosie is meant to reach not just to the residents of central Lincoln, but the rural outskirts as well.
Kelly Spence, the programming and outreach assistant for the library, said that the idea behind Rosie is to “reconnect with our community” as people may no longer be aware of the library services that are offered.
Spence said Rosie will operate like a pop-up shop. With plans on being at different social events and community celebrations, Rosie will offer the ability to make library cards on the spot and borrow computers as well as mobile hot spots and give visitors a chance to interact with the library’s 3D printer.
The van also comes with a tent that can be set up outside to offer shade for those interested in using computers or Wi-Fi.
Andrews said Rosie is a pilot project and the goal with Rosie beyond community outreach is to make “a solid case” for the library to receive another, newer van from the town for next year.
The van hit the roads June 29 and will be at different locations multiple times a week throughout the summer.
Lincoln isn't not the only library with a mobile unit in the works, as St. Catharines Public Library is also expected to launch a mobile library by fall of 2021.
For more information on Rosie’s whereabouts and services, follow @LincolnLibraryON on Facebook or Instagram.
Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News