The Bibliobús celebrates 50 years taking literature to all corners of Castilla-La Mancha


Albacete

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This week marks 50 years since the Castilla-La Mancha Library was launched, an initiative that is currently makes a stop at more than 350 locations. The service has eight library buses that carry out some 99 routes, of which one is carried out in the province of Albacete, two in Cuenca, three in Guadalajara, and two in Toledo.

What’s more, serves around 84,000 people of all ages. On average, it goes through each of the municipalities, once, every 21 days, although users have two months to repay the loans they take.

The regional government is going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start-up of the library bus service in Castilla-La Mancha with different activities which will begin this summer and will run until 2023.

This was announced this week by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Rosa Ana Rodriguez, in the Toledo town of Chueca, where he celebrated the “Library Bus Day” by visiting one of the two library buses that cover this service in the small municipalities of the province of Toledo that do not have a municipal library.

It is a gateway to culture for certain territories, which provides alternatives for leisure and culture and “above all, to let us read the comics, which was what I liked the most,” Fernando González, from the municipality of Robledo del Mazo, who started using this service when he was just a child. For 22 years he has been the driver of one of the eight library buses in the region.

Fernando confesses that he has more than 3,000 books, magazines and some music. His first stop is always next to the school and from there to the main square. Hunting, craft magazines, cookbooks and those authors who bring their readers closer to real stories are the most in demand, he says. And he repeats that as a driver and a good reader he considers that this service is essential to reach the most unpopulated areas of the autonomous community.

This same week the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Rosa Ana Rodríguez recalled that the first bookmobile was launched in 1972 in the province of Albacete and the following year, two bookmobiles began to operate in the province of Toledo. In 1974, in this province the goal of reaching one hundred percent of the population was achieved.

In addition, at the beginning of the 90s of the last century, the gradual creation of municipal public libraries meant that the number of mobile services was consequently reduced. Thus, for example, today there are two library buses in the province of Toledo, heirs to the seven that came into existence in the early 1980s when, also as a result of poor communications, they even made weekly routes in which both the driver and the librarian spent the night in the municipalities they visited. Today the bookbus routes always return to their respective locations.

The Minister of Education has highlighted in this celebration -which will last until 2023- especially due to the climatic, orographic and management difficulties, the work carried out by the bookmobile that, based in Molina de Aragón, offers its services to the entire region of the High Tagus.

Other activities

The library buses have also created other parallel activities. For example, book clubs. These meetings are called in the afternoon and now they are also notified by whatsapp. Among the users they choose a book and, when they have all read it, they comment on their opinions about the work and the author.

The bookmobile has turned half a century but, with the pandemic, once again, it has been able to adapt. To users and new tastes: whatsapp, Instagram account since the end of April now, the next thing they want is for the service to enter Facebook.

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