Sad farewell to ‘book bus’

NAWN1107121 Stutton Playgroup. Little three years old Lloyd Mercer seen here with the rest of the Stutton Playgroup including manager Helen Smith who are not happy about the mobile library service being stopped. Picture: Adrian Murray. (1107121AM)
NAWN1107121 Stutton Playgroup. Little three years old Lloyd Mercer seen here with the rest of the Stutton Playgroup including manager Helen Smith who are not happy about the mobile library service being stopped. Picture: Adrian Murray. (1107121AM)

Youngsters from Stutton have said goodbye to their book bus.

Every other Tuesday children from Stutton playgroup would board the bus and greet Keith the driver before reading a selection of books.

But the mobile library service has now been withdrawn after North Yorkshire County Council announced it would be closing 10 out of 11 mobile libraries in the county last month. The decision was made as a cost-cutting measure.

The council originally planned to cut £2m from the library services budget but after protests from campaigners that was altered to £1.7m.

But even under the revised plans, the council said the current mobile service was no longer sustainable and other solutions to replace it must be found.

Manager at the playgroup, Helen Smith, said: “The book bus was a Tuesday morning ritual for the children here and they loved choosing the books and then sitting on the floor and reading them.

“They had a lot of books that we do not have here and it was wonderful to see the children build their confidence of reading. It was a cosy experience we all looked forward to and all the children made cards for the bus driver last Tuesday when we knew it would be our last time using the service and seeing him. The children are really going to miss it.”

The children at the playgroup, aged between two and five, will now use their own books at the playgroup, as the Tadcaster Library is too far for them to walk.

Mrs Smith added: “It is a real shame that this has now gone, Tadcaster library is too far for us to travel to really by foot, at least though we have had the benefit of the service for all this time. The children have really enjoyed it.”