Meet Tahi and Rua Whanganui's new library vans!

Meet Tahi and Rua Whanganui's new library vans!
Hilary Beaton
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Meet Tahi and Rua Whanganui's new library vans!

Van #1 "Tahi" and Van #2 "Rua" have been on the road since Labour Weekend.

“We’re committed to getting the books out to people,” says Whanganui District Libraries Manager, Pete Gay, who appears on YouTube singing the praises of literacy and reading for fun, Come on, read more words!

The vans can travel anywhere the old mobile library bus went and further afield to places such as along the River Road, into retirement complexes around town, and to outreach events.

“The advantage of these Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans is their ability to access areas,” Pete says, and adds with glee“They are “huge”.

Every available safety feature is included in these top-of-the-line vans, including 360-degree cameras and “blindspot assist”. They can be driven by any holder of a Class 1 licence, unlike the bus, which could only be driven by librarians with Class 2 licences.

“This means the vans will be on the road for more hours each week, making more stops than was possible with the bus.”

The concept design for the exterior of the vans was completed by Library Performance Manager, Sonny Tamihana.

The inspiration for the adults’ van, dubbed “Tahi”, is a picture of Miss Blackett, a former city librarian, and her team from the 1930s.

 “She and other literary champions like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Kerry Greenwood’s Phyrne Fisher and Alice in Wonderland are why we chose that particular series of images.”

The children’s van, “Rua”, celebrates themes of literary heroism from books like Pippi Longstocking, Captain Underpants, The Famous Five, and Peter Pan.

“These are titles kids love and continue to love, and we always want to encourage that excitement for reading.” 

The mobile library schedule can be viewed by visiting Whanganui District Library’s website or scanning the QR code on the van doors.

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