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Extending European information access through mobile libraries

Objective

MOBILE will identify target user groups and their information needs in remote communities or other regions where public library services are currently unable to stimulate or meet demand for information. The technical feasibility of introducing a range of information and document delivery services into existing public library networks, through the exploitation of information and communication technology, will be investigated. Prototype, multi-functional mobile library and information point will be specified, procured and introduced into three different public library environments. Field trials of the fully-equipped library vehicles of up to 18 months duration will be undertaken in these environments. They will be carefully monitored in order to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of mobile library services under the special conditions of each of the three areas.
Impact and expected results:

The anticipated outcomes of the MOBILE project will include:

an assessment of the cost-benefits of further investment in the replication of such mobile information services by other Member governments;
the identification of appropriate products and potential risks and benefits;
the development of tested specifications for new mobile library vehicle design and for information technology products for use in a mobile library environment;
detailed and evaluative analyses of the outcomes of the field trials.

Deliverables

The main - and very evident - deliverable will be three fully equipped field trial mobile library vehicles. Classified as restricted are the specification of resources, equipment and vehicle design and the evaluations. In the public domain will be:

User surveys and field trial services;
Training materials and courses for staff;
Final Report.

A number of articles and papers from dissemination activities will also be available.
Technical approach:

The project has nine workpackages:

User survey

Study of existing services;
Design of survey;
Field survey in 3 countries;
Analysis of results;

Sources and resources

Technologies and suppliers;
Specification of design or renovation;
Specification of stock, staff, support and maintenance;
Budgets: staff, capital and running costs;
Vehicle procurement/renovation

Select suppliers;
Order vehicles and durable equipment;
Procurement and delivery;

Evaluation preparation

Performance measures, instruments and methodology;
Baseline evaluation;

Field trial preparation

Design of training courses;
Promotion of new services;
Testing of vehicles, equipment and communications;
Staff training;

Field trials

Data gathering;
Interim and final evaluations;

Results

Statistical/technical, performance, cost analyses: services, equipment, vehicles;

Information dissemination

Publicity campaigns in field trial countries;
Media presentations;
Conferences and events.

Key issues:

MOBILE will concentrate particularly on researching the following issues:

- cost-effective and affordable alternatives to static service points for information access and delivery to remote communities or to meet needs of people in less favourable social, economic, educational or physical circumstances;
- developmental 'leapfrogging' - effective mobile library and information services developed in Southern European countries without the concomitant public library infrastructure to provide support;
- the potential of mobile library services in promoting cross-border European information exchange and library networking.

Coordinator

Carpenter Davies Associates
Address
33 Arnold Road Iffley
OX4 4BH Oxford
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

Borders Regional Council
United Kingdom
Address

TD7 Selkirk
Nederlands Bibliotheek en Lektuur Centrum
Netherlands
Address

The Hague
Stichting Centrale Bibliotheekdienst voor Friesland
Netherlands
Veria Public Library
Greece
Address

Veria