Travellers in the wilds of KwaZulu-Natal might be surprised to spot a few eye-catching trucks showing a tower of books and a little boy trying to reach them via a stepladder. These are four specially designed mobile libraries designed by the KZN provincial library services, funded by the department of arts and culture, and decorated by vehicle branding specialists, Graffiti.
The Isuzu FVR900 vehicles’ distinctive branding was designed to draw attention to the fact that these are no ordinary wheels, but rather, multi-purpose mobile libraries that also offer computer and internet access, photocopying facilities, DVDs, CDs and toys. They will also provide a space for storytellers or speakers.
““The Department of Arts and Culture’s aim with this mobile library project is to create enthusiasm and excitement around books and reading. Hence, we needed to brand these vehicles with a bold, creative depiction of the adventure, imagination and escape that books can provide in order to grab people’s attention and encourage them to participate and get reading,” said Carol Slater, senior manager of the KZN Provincial Library and Information Service.
Graffiti director Dave Ferguson says the company was approached by the department of arts and culture to submit a quote. And, he says, there are more in the pipeline. “We are currently branding six mobile library buses through a partner of Graffiti’s for the Dept of Education.” Both of these departments are based in KwaZulu-Natal, he says.
Ferguson says the design “plays with a scope of human emotions. “The relaxed, comfortable feel of the open countryside, the pleasure of a good book, the fear and intimidation of your first book and finally the hunger for knowledge that accompanies reading broadly,” he explains.
“The library truck will mostly be in the rural areas so we decided on an open field for the background as it’s reflecting the open spaces of the countryside, as well as the calmness experienced by reading.
“When reading for the first time children generally find books intimidating, thus the over large stack of books, but in contrast the ‘child on the ladder’ aspires to climb higher, illustrated by him climbing to the top and glancing up at the stack of books.
“The viewer will experience these emotions subconsciously which will add a positive connotation to reading,” Ferguson says.
Slater says the mobile libraries have been well received. “People have immediately come over to see what they are about and are genuinely interested in learning more about what they have on offer. Hopefully they will provide the first step towards improving the literacy levels in these extremely remote and underprivileged communities.”