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#CILIPSGoGreen x Orkney Library & Archive

Category: Blog, CILIPSGoGreen

From now until November when COP26 arrives in Glasgow, CILIPS will be sharing videos, links, recommended readings and much more for members who want to grow their organisation’s environmental consciousness – recognising the key role that libraries can play in inspiring their communities to take vital climate action.

In this blog, Simon Brown and Betty Stanger from Orkney Library & Archive share insights into the acquisition of an electric vehicle for their home library service (the van is affectionately known as Baby McBookface in honour of big sibling Booky)! Read on to discover Simon and Betty’s top tips for other libraries across Scotland that are interested in investing in their green future by going electric.

A white electric library van with a blue 'Orkney Library & Archive Service' logo

1. Can you tell us about your new electric vehicle, ‘Baby McBookface‘, and why you made the decision to go electric with the latest addition to your home and mobile library service?

Our old peedie* van was a 2010 Diesel and was due for replacement under the transport Dept guidance. We had a chance to try both an Electric and a Hydrogen van, and preferred the Hydrogen option. However, we were given a choice of another Diesel, or an Electric van, but not Hydrogen as that wasn’t in the fleet procurement plan.

* For international readers, ‘peedie’ = small, tiny, diminutive, little (Dictionary of the Scots Language)

2. What would you say are the greatest advantages of an electric vehicle?

It is a very easy vehicle to drive, being automatic, also quiet and is obviously greener to use than previous vehicles.

A white electric library van with a blue 'Orkney Library & Archive Service' logo

3. What are the main differences you’ve noticed in using an electric vehicle for book deliveries? Have there been any disadvantages and if so, what strategies have you found to try and overcome them?

The main difference is the range and speed of charging, which means we have to plan further ahead and alter the way we deliver our services in order to do a complete run on a single charge. The electric van has a range which, depending on the time of year, varies between 135 and 95 miles, and the charge will take between 2 and 11 hours depending on which charger it is plugged into. This was one of the reasons we preferred the Hydrogen option as it gave a range of about 300 miles and could be filled again within minutes. This would obviously have taken away the need to be so aware of future use of the van, and so could have been used in a similar way as Petrol/Diesel vehicles.

5. What would be your advice for other Scottish libraries who are considering electric vehicles for the future?

They will need to consider where it can be charged and what/how often it is used to allow time to charge it.

A white electric library van with a blue 'Orkney Library & Archive Service' logo

Thank you so much to Simon and Betty for introducing us to ‘Baby’ and this significant step taken by Orkney Library on the road to sustainability. Find further information here on Orkney’s Home Library Service, or visit our #CILIPSGoGreen webpage for more resources to support your library’s green journey. 


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