Library-on-wheels drives joy across Melbourne

A woman holding books standing in front of a red van. The words 'MEL-VAN' are written on the side.

Look out for our Mel-van mobile library at public housing, community hubs and festivals, bringing books, workshops and wi-fi in a suitcase.

The colourful van visits people who may find it difficult to access our six library branches, including school children, older people and culturally diverse communities.

Irene attends the Mel-van’s fortnightly Books and Biscuits program at South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre.

At each session, our librarians invite people to discuss short stories, poems, essays and articles. They also stock the centre’s shelves with pre-loved books for people to take home.

‘Books and Biscuits is an incredibly stimulating activity that breaks up the week and brings something new and interesting,’ Irene said.

‘It’s magic. It means a lot to people.’

Irene said the most important part of Books and Biscuits is the welcoming atmosphere the librarians create.

The small-group sessions led by familiar faces encourage diverse people to participate, learn and socialise.

‘Everyone has something to offer and it’s very interesting hearing their perspectives on the topics,’ Irene said.

‘The readings and excerpts open people’s minds to new ideas and great chats and digressions into other fantastic conversations.

‘I talk to my friends and my husband about the ideas and the books afterwards for days. It’s very meaningful and we create real connections through the group interaction and topics.’

Over at North Melbourne’s public housing estate, Stella (pictured) attends the Mel-van’s Neighbourhood Networking program.

Every week our librarians deliver workshops on topics like digital literacy, English, art, craft and community-building through social connection. This program also features pre-loved books.

‘The Mel-van brings us books in our language that we can’t find anywhere else,’ Stella said.

‘They bring games and painting and help us with digital technology like our phones and the internet.

‘The library is very important and we feel very close to it. We’ve never had a library visit us every week before.’

Learn more about the Mel-van

The Mel-van aims to empower and connect Melburnians with digital literacy, knowledge and resources.

Whether you want a compelling novel or help accessing emails, social media or other online platforms using the Mel-van’s Wi-Fi hotspot, our friendly librarians can help.

The Mel-van is part of our pop-up library series, made possible by the $200 million Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund – a partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.

For more information, visit Pop-up library locations.

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