Kent County Council’s mobile library service provided a real lifeline during the pandemic lockdown for many book lovers, says James Pearson, head of council libraries, registration, and archives. Patrons can still partake in the same reliable, comfortable mobile library service, but an even better customer experience awaits them, as the council recently added five new 7.2-tonne (7.9-U.S.-ton) IVECO Daily light-duty trucks to its fleet.
“I am delighted that the first of our new mobile libraries is being enjoyed by our customers,” Pearson says. “There was a real need to replace the entire fleet of vehicles so that we can maintain the excellent customer service residents expect from Kent Libraries. In addition, these vehicles have a number of features that mean they are a real step forward in reducing the impact we have on the environment, a further important factor in these times.”
Built To Serve
The council’s new mobile libraries are the result of an 18-month collaboration with IVECO dealer Haynes Trucks of Maidstone and a local specialist bodybuilder. The trucks feature custom shelving that can haul about 800 to 900 kilograms (1,764 to 1,984 pounds) of books. A single passenger seat in place of standard bench seating lets drivers easily reach the truck’s library section from the cab, and the trucks’ rear air suspension helps minimise disruption to onboard displays and equipment.
The trucks also incorporate a rear passenger-side wheelchair lift, a powered door, and an internal librarian workstation. Wi-Fi and 3/4G connectivity are on hand for checking books in and out and processing payments and book orders, and air conditioning and heating keep customers comfortable while browsing the shelves. Two roof-mounted solar panels and lithium-ion batteries power the AC/heating unit and internal LED lighting so the truck’s 3-litre 180-horsepower (134-kilowatt) FPT Industrial F1C turbo diesel engine doesn’t have to. Kent County Council paired the engine with IVECO’s HI-MATIC transmission to provide its drivers a more relaxed driving experience.
A Fantastic Collaboration
Mike Cutts, IVECO UK light business-line director, says the mobile library design is a great fit for Kent County Council’s mobile library, allowing it to provide year-round service throughout the county. “The collaboration between all parties has been fantastic," he says. “The 7.2-t Daily provides a strong and reliable base chassis on which to build any conversion, and its unladen weight, payload capacity, low emissions, and driver comfort provide a perfect match for Kent County Council's needs.”
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