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.
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;
A number of articles and papers from dissemination activities will also be available.
The project has nine workpackages:
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;
Order vehicles and durable equipment;
Procurement and delivery;
Performance measures, instruments and methodology;
Field trial preparation
Design of training courses;
Promotion of new services;
Testing of vehicles, equipment and communications;
Interim and final evaluations;
Statistical/technical, performance, cost analyses: services, equipment, vehicles;
Publicity campaigns in field trial countries;
Conferences and events.
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.