Stirling Council’s two brand new mobile libraries have been named ‘The BFB – The Big Friendly Bus’ – and ‘Robinson Cruiser’, following a public competition.
Mobile Libraries naming competition winners

The local authority asked residents at the start of November to send in their best literary-based puns, with the winning entries to adorn the state-of-the-art vehicles

Paul Smith (14), a pupil at McLaren High School and sisters Sadie (8) and Joni (4) Greig of Balfron, shared the top prize in the U16 category, with their take on Roald Dahl’s children’s favourite, The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant).

In the adults competition, Jane Larner (64) of Riverside, Stirling, impressed the *judging panel with her quirky adaption of Daniel Defoe’s classic, Robinson Crusoe

Along with having their chosen names displayed on the side of the vehicles, Paul, Sadie, Joni and Jane will receive a range of fantastic prizes, including:

  • £50 of book tokens donated by Waterstones
  • £50 shopping voucher donated by Nu-Track, the manufacturer of the vehicles
  • A 3D scanned bust of themselves
  • A chance to go out for a drive in the vehicle they have named.

The winners were announced today (30 Jan) at Stirling Council HQ ahead of a meeting of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, which oversees the Libraries and Archives Service.

More recognisable

Convener of the Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Congratulations to all the worthy winners and a huge thanks to all those who entered and made it such a difficult decision with all their ‘pun-derful’ suggestions.

“Whether you are a literary lover or not, everyone has heard of the BFG and Robinson Crusoe, so having ‘The BFB’ and ‘Robinson Cruiser’ travelling around the Stirling area can only make these important community assets more recognisable for residents of all ages.”

The Council invested £340,000 in the enhanced mobile facilities to replace the existing 12-year old fleet and ensure it can continue delivering this high-quality and crucial service for future generations.

It is part of the local authority’s drive to ensure its libraries are fit for the digital age and relevant to users in the 21st century.

Built by specialist manufacturer Nu-Track in Northern Ireland, the vehicles boast a ground-breaking design, incorporating the latest satellite system used by mobile banking services.

Enhanced connectivity via built-in Wi-Fi make them ideal for I.T. use, and they also contain a laptop corner, stowaway counter and stool so staff can help the public access the internet using mobile devices.

Passion for reading and libraries

Vice Convener, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “Having these novel names on our magnificent new mobile libraries is a fun way of raising awareness of these fantastic facilities which will be accessible by people across Stirling for many years to come.

“It was a tough process to choose the winners, and the great response in both categories was another reminder of the passion for reading and libraries among the Stirling public. A huge well done to our winning wordsmiths - Paul, Sadie, Joni and Jane.”

Stirling Libraries serve rural and urban settlements across a wide geographic area and the mobile vehicles visit isolated communities, schools, nurseries and sheltered housing units with no local library.

For more information on Stirling’s mobile libraries and timetables, visit the Council website.

Background info and picture details:

 *The judging panel for the competition included recently retired Mobile Library Officer, Nelson Busby, who spent 34 years driving mobile libraries across Stirling and was central to the design of the new vehicles. Last year, Nelson was named UK Mobile Library Champion of the Year in London in recognition of his years of dedicated service.

Figures published in 2018 showed that people in Stirling use their libraries more than any other local authority on mainland Scotland, with 4,900 books loaned in the area per 1000 population. Stirling was also ranked second in Scotland for the number of library visits and enquiries, and scored highly in other categories, including requests and book acquisitions.

Stirling Council in 2019 launched an ambitious five-year initiative to develop and grow its entire libraries and archives service. To read the full strategy, head here

Picture shows the competition winners, Councillors and Council Officers from the Libraries Service in front of the ‘The BFB – The Big Friendly Bus – and Robinson Cruiser. Pictured (from left) are Cllr Chris Kane; Sadie and Joni Greig with their mum, Sara; Paul Smith; Cllr Scott Farmer; Lindsay McKrell, Team Leader for Libraries & Archives; Lesley Russell, Systems and Support Librarian; Toby Tollan, Mobile Community Library Officer; Jane Larner.