New mobile library drives digital literacy to locals 

New mobile library drives digital literacy to locals 
Jack Hayes

A new City of Melbourne initiative is seeking to bridge the literacy gap for those local residents unable to access the council’s six library branches.

The City of Melbourne’s first mobile library “Mel-van” has already hit the road providing access to books and resources, wi-fi and digital support to school children, the elderly and culturally diverse communities, stationing neighbourhood houses, community centres, parks, and festivals and events. 

Launched by Lord Mayor Sally Capp at the South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre on Friday, June 24, the colourful van will be filled with a selection of books, technology, craft supplies and games, handpicked for the communities along its route. 

The Mel-van enables library staff to connect community members with online resources through a publicly accessible wi-fi hotspot as well as providing digital literacy support to get more people online, and boost community connectivity through emails, social media and other online platforms. 

The Mel-van is part of the council’s pop-up library series, joining a food-themed library in the Queen Victoria Market precinct, a library for kids at Fed Square, the Express Book Bar for city workers on Little Collins St, the Lygon Street Biblioteca for enthusiastic writers and the Bourke St Micro-Lab. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council wanted to make it as easy as possible for Melburnians to access their library services, no matter “where they live, work or play.“

“The Mel-van is our new library on wheels, allowing the council to take its services out of its buildings and into our communities,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’ve launched six pop-up libraries across Melbourne in the past year, which have been visited by more than 17,000 people. We can’t wait to build on their popularity as our new Mel-van zips around town.” 

The initiative is part of the joint $200 million Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.  

The Mel-van will have a permanent home in the City of Melbourne and “will continue its mission to empower Melburnians with digital literacy, knowledge and resources.” •

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