The schools' mobile library
parked outside the Pavilion in Matlock Bath © Bette Atkinson
Bette Atkinson worked for the Derbyshire's Schools Library Service.
She writes that "the Schools Library Service was started in
the early 1960s. Up till then all the primary schools in the county
had been sent boxes of books selected at County Offices, but the
Mobile Service allowed them to choose their own books.
The books and staff were housed on the ground floor of the Pavilion
[Matlock Bath] on the right hand side. The school meals supplies,
i.e. the equipment not the food, was also housed there. It was a cold
place in the winter, dark with awful toilets at the back. It was pleasant
in the summer, if it was not our day out on the van, to sit by the
river and have our lunch or in the winter to go to the little cafe
up the jitty opposite the [old] glove factory.
We visited each primary school in the county, I think twice a year,
from Padfield and Hadfield in the north to places like Walton on Trent
in the south. Depending on the enthusiasm of the staff for books the
selection was made by anything from one member of staff to every pupil
in the school. I particularly remember the very small village schools
with, perhaps, 10 - 12 pupils in total, for whom the library visit
was a big event and at lunch everyone, including the cook, sat down
round together for a meal cooked at the school.
We started with one Mobile but added another later. Marjorie Chambers
was in charge of the whole School Library Service and Olive Saunders,
on the photo [above], was the librarian in charge of the School Mobile
Service. Arthur Wall was the the driver and is also in the photo."