December 2023
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Ann Cleeves launches 60th Ann “Family Box Service” in Orkney



Novel Orkney Book Scheme Marks a 60th Anniversary

Back in 1954 began a service of distributing books to avid readers in some of Orkney’s most far-flung islands by ways of library vans boarding and unboarding ferries.

“ is thought that it was the very first example of this type of service anywhere in the world” …” says Orkney library and archive manager Gary Amos. Source

highlander bibliobus in skye

I remember while touring Scotland how we’ve been impressed by the Highland Libraries Bibliobus 🙂

Best-selling crime novelist Ann Cleeves was in North Ronaldsay to launch the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the ‘Family Box Service’.

Ann Cleeves make the latest delivery:  “It was fantastic to talk to islanders about the box scheme and to share stories with the children and the adults.”  Source

Islander Maureen Johnstone said: “The service is fantastic – we don’t get into town very often, perhaps monthly, and when we do we’ve got so much to get done that it’s hard to slot in some time to wander about the library picking books.

So when the box comes through every month it’s a little bit like Christmas.”

What a great way to allow islanders of remote villages to access books!

Mobile library services

mobile-library-orkneyWe have two mobile libraries that travel to the less accessible areas of Orkney, providing a choice of books for those who find it difficult to travel to either of our two libraries.

The mobiles travel around the Mainland of Orkney, the North and South Isles served by Roll on – Roll off ferry terminals and South Ronaldsay. In addition, boxes of books can be delivered to our Mainland housebound members at monthly intervals.

The two mobiles routes can be viewed by clicking on the links below and are also announced daily on BBC Radio Orkney between 7.30am and 8.00am Monday to Friday, where any cancellations due to weather conditions or other reasons will also be announced.

 Timetable for Mobile 1 – Mainland of Orkney

Timetable for Mobile 2 – The Isles and South Ronaldsay


Discover more about Ann Cleeves crime novels in this video that gives us her thoughts facing evil vicariously, pace and suspense and the popularity of crime fiction.



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