Topic: Tauranga Mobile Library (est. 1962)

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In 1962 a mobile library service was first suggested for Tauranga. In 2015 that service was still being provided with a newly painted library bus.

By 1968 the library had two suburban pick-ups at Matua Dairy and Brookfield Stationary Shop.

On 27 June 1974 a hired vehicle officially began a three-month experimental mobile library service for children in Brookfield and Bellevue.  The photograph below is of children waiting outside the Tauranga Children's Mobile Library at Brookfield Shopping Centre on the very first day of operation:

Mobile Library (27 June 1974) Photo: Bay of Plenty Times (28 June 1974).

New members enrolled on the van were around 200 and issues in the first twelve months totalled 9,327.

The service became so popular that a small "Seuss Hoose" caravan to be towed by a "Mini-haha" bookmobile van were purchased and commenced operating an extended run on 18 April 1977. There was initially one stop per day and the schools visited included Maungatapu, Merivale, Bellvue, Otumoetai and Matua. In May 1977 a further stop was added for Welcome Bay children who were unable to use the mobile library after school and in November 1977 adult books were added to the collection. The "Seuss Hoose" caravan was painted with red walking books.

In April 1978 the service was extended further to include Kaka Street, Tauranga South School and Tauranga Primary School. The total weekly duration of visits was now 15.5 hours.

In 1979 the caravan was replaced by a 3 ton Isuzu Bedford truck (petrol motor, 4 cylinder, height 7' 6", length 18ft). The first day of operation was 13 February 1979. The book stock was 2220 and Brookfield School was added to the run, making 17 hours of stops per week.

Mobile Library (1978)

Photo: Bay of Plenty Times (8 February 1978).

By January 1983 up to 1000 adult books were being carried in addition to the children's collection.

In 1985 the mobile bus underwent a new paint job. The bus featured a pink elephant, yellow moose, larger than life camel, monkey, bird and cat on one side. The other side was aimed at adult readers and was adorned with pairs of feet representing different groups in the community beneath a stacked bookcase.

Mobile Library (1999) 

Photo: Citizen: News from Tauranga Distric Council (January 1999, Issue 13, p. 4).

On 1 February 2000 a new library bus, painted lilic, began service to the community. 

Mobile Library (2007)

Mobile Library (2007). Photo: Tauranga City Library.

In 2012 a proposal to axe the mobile library service was met with a petition of 1520 signatures opposing the plan.

On 10 November 2014, the mobile library, traveling near Faith Bible College in Welcome Bay, collided with a car, sustaining substantial damage. The bus was off the road for a month.

In January 2015 the newly repainted bus was revealed. The design was a woman reading a book on Leisure Island looking back towards Mount Main Beach and Mauao and included pohutukawa. The book stock was 3000. 

Mobile Library (2015) Mobile Library (2015). Photo: Tauranga City Library.

List of mobile librarians and drivers:

  • Lois Rout
  • Pam Lloyd
  • Hetty Van Hale
  • Rebecca Williams
  • Margaret Jenner
  • Frith Bartlett
  • Bev Dibble
  • Sharon
  • Sandra Kilby
  • Dave Brookes


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2015). Mobile Library (Tauranga). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2015)

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Tauranga Mobile Library (est. 1962)

Year:2015, 1968, c.1975, 1999, 2012, and 2014