Not all children live close to a library.

For some, like those attending school in the Ruapehu settlements of Owhango and National Park, getting to the library in Taumarunui is a trip too far to make.

So rather than the children having to be driven to the King Country town, the librarians are taking the library to them instead.

"The library decided to make it easier by bringing the books to them at their school," district librarian Fiona Thomas said.


"18 months ago we started trialling a monthly mobile library service to National Park School and due to its success, we have included Owhango School for the past nine months."

The cost of petrol to Taumarunui, 34 kilometres north of National Park, and the availability of transport were preventing children from accessing a steady supply of good books.

Thomas said that herself and librarian Libby Ogle have been amazed at how enthusiastic the children are about reading and about the mobile service.

"We now have around 80 children, or just about every kid in both schools, signed up as library members," she said.

"Since starting the mobile library service to these two rural schools we have seen the circulation of children's books from Taumarunui Library increase by over 50 per cent."

Operating the mobile service means more work is required and the librarians have been putting in additional hours to make it happen.

Thomas said that the extra effort was all worth it and it was incredibly rewarding to see the smiles on children's faces when getting their next book.

"The library keeps a database of what books each child borrows. We talk to them about what they like and don't like about what they have been reading.


"This allows us to understand each child's personal reading preferences and tastes to make tailored book selections for them which helps keep them coming back for more."

The librarians have had good feedback from teachers, who are seeing noticeable improvements in literacy levels and enthusiasm for reading from previously reluctant readers.

It is well proven that encouraging kids to read from a young age is one the best things that can be done for them, to help set them up for life.

Regular reading helps improve concentration, strengthens and builds new brain connections, develops imagination and curiosity and improves vocabulary and language skills.

Thomas said they would love to extend their service to more of Ruapehu's rural schools so that other children can benefit.

"However, with just myself and Libby, our current workload and limited resources, we are unable to do so," she said.

"Our dream vision would be for a kindly benefactor or organisation to gift us a suitable dedicated mobile library vehicle and to have a group of committed volunteers to help run the service.

"Until that dream comes true, however, we will continue to do what we can for the kids of Owhango and National Park."

The librarians would like to hear from parents or caregivers with children in rural areas who are having trouble getting to their nearest library to see if they can help.