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Introducing the Library Link: Coquitlam’s Mobile Library Bus

Posted on: July 5, 2024

The Coquitlam Public Library recently regained their Library Link after their first one was destroyed by fire and the second one was well past its end of life. Ann Johannes of the Coquitlam Public Library, shares what this means to the City of Coquitlam. Here’s her account of introducing the Library Link: Coquitlam’s Mobile Library Bus!

What is the Library Link?

The Library Link is our mobile library bus, designed to bring library services directly to the community. Operating six days a week, the Library Link follows a fixed schedule, making stops at parks, community centres, and schools across Coquitlam. This “library on wheels” offers a dedicated collection of books, magazines, DVDs, and family technology. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the bus, you can place a hold and pick it up from the Link later.

Why the Library Link is Needed

Coquitlam covers a large geographic area but only has two permanent library branches. The Library Link addresses this gap by enabling residents throughout the city to access our extensive library collection. This service ensures that everyone, regardless of their location, can benefit from library resources.

From Fire to a New Beginning

In May 2014, our first book bus was destroyed by fire. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the loss was a significant setback for our community services. Metro Ford Port Coquitlam generously provided a van as a temporary solution, allowing us to continue serving the community.

With the help of our sponsors—Wesbild, Industrial Alliance, Friends of the Coquitlam Public Library, Rotary of Coquitlam, and our dedicated community members—we acquired a second-hand book mobile from Sno-Isle Libraries in Washington. This interim solution kept our mobile library service running.

Introducing the New Library Link

In early 2024, we introduced our new and improved Library Link. The latest Library Link allows us to spend more time at neighborhood stops and community events. It features enhanced staff facilities, a wheelchair/stroller lift, modern air-conditioning and heating, robust tech support with quieter, stronger generators for independent power, and Wi-Fi. Additionally, it offers more interior space for a larger selection of materials including books, magazines, DVDs, and family technology.

Building the New Library Link

Work on the new bus began in April 2023, and it was ready by early February 2024. Our staff collaborated closely with the City of Coquitlam and the builder to ensure the new vehicle met all community needs. The City of Coquitlam funded this project and is responsible for the vehicle’s maintenance and fuel.

Community Feedback and Engagement

The feedback from our patrons has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone loves the Link! People have always benefitted from the Link and the amount of love and support and positive feedback we get from the community never ends. It’s a smaller version of a branch so it’s easier for families with young kids to access.

Behind the Scenes: Managing the Library Link

As the supervisor of the Library Link, I oversee the staff, scheduling, maintenance, and collection. During the construction of the new bus, I provided regular progress updates to our library staff. I also coordinate necessary training for staff and liaise with the City as needed.

Impact on the Community

The Library Link effectively acts as our “third branch,” expanding access to our library collection throughout Coquitlam. Many Library Champions have told me that the Link was their first introduction to the library when it came to their neighbourhood.

A Wealth of Resources

We offer a variety of programs and resources for all ages and languages, including:

Libraries as Community Hubs

Libraries are essential community hubs where people can connect and access various programs. Whether you’re a new parent, a child needing homework help, or an English language learner, there’s something for everyone at the library. Our services and programs are designed to meet diverse needs, all free of charge.

My Journey with Coquitlam Public Library

In my five years at Coquitlam Public Library, I’ve seen significant growth in our programs and community engagement. We aim to be present in the community, reflecting my belief that libraries should meet people where they are. As our city’s population density increases, so does the demand for our services. We offer more than just books—check out our tech toys page on our website to see our offerings.

Visit Us Today

We invite you to visit your local library or the Library Link and explore all we have to offer. The Library Link brings the library to you, ensuring everyone can benefit from our resources and programs. We’re so glad to be introducing the Library Link: Coquitlam’s Mobile Library Bus!