October 20, 2015
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Mobile Library Services to be Offered in Hokkaido in a Public-Private Partnership Project between Rakuten and Hokkaido Prefectural Government

- The first mobile library in Japan to provide people with opportunities to use a digital library -

Tokyo, October 20, 2015 - Rakuten, Inc. today announced that the Rakuten Mobile Library*1 will begin operating in Hokkaido Prefecture from October 28, 2015. This marks the fifth vehicle in the Rakuten Mobile Library fleet operating in Japan. These activities will be carried out as part of a public-private partnership project initiated under a Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement*2 concluded with Hokkaido Prefecture (Governor Harumi Takahashi) aimed at revitalizing the region. Candidate destinations for Rakuten Mobile Library within Hokkaido will be discussed between the Hokkaido Prefectural Government and related organizations, and Rakuten will be responsible for contacting and coordinating with these destinations.

Through Rakuten Mobile Library, Rakuten aspires to promote children’s education and regional revitalization. In Hokkaido, due to its vast area, many communities face difficulty in accessing books or libraries, and as such, there is expected to be great need for a mobile library service that travels to destinations close to children’s homes. Recognising the importance of providing children with greater opportunities to enjoy books, Rakuten decided to begin the mobile library service in Hokkaido. In addition to conventional daycares and after-school kids’ clubs, in Hokkaido, Rakuten Mobile Library will also visit hospitals and schools for children. Following operations in Gunma Prefecture, the mobile library traveling across Hokkaido will carry 1,200 books provided by Rakuten Life Insurance Co., Ltd. and will visit foster homes in the prefecture that Rakuten is supporting. At these destinations, the Rakuten Mobile Library will serve to bring people closer together and help to revitalize the community in the process.

The Rakuten Mobile Library traveling around Hokkaido will not only feature conventional books and Kobo Touch eReaders, but it will also become the first mobile library service in Japan to provide opportunities to experience using a digital library, with Rakuten Group company OverDrive, Inc.*3 of the US providing the digital library. Patrons will be able to access digital library contents via computers set up on the Rakuten Mobile Library and experience using an actual digital library. Those wishing to continue using the digital library service can access it from their computer or mobile device simply by registering, which will make it possible for them to borrow digital content, such as eBooks. Patrons will be able to borrow up to three titles at once per person for as long as one week. Once the borrowing period ends, the contents are automatically returned to the library and can no longer be accessed, eliminating any need for the user to return them. Titles that are currently being borrowed by others can also be reserved.

Rakuten will continue to provide Rakuten Mobile Library services to ensure children have opportunities to proactively access books and to provide a venue for encouraging greater communication. In turn, these activities will develop a greater sense of imagination among the children of Hokkaido and contribute to the revitalization of communities in the prefecture.

*1: Rakuten Mobile Library (https://corp.rakuten.co.jp/csr/mobile-library/)
Rakuten launched Rakuten Mobile Library on December 21, 2012 as part of its support for the reconstruction of areas affected by Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and to promote children’s education in Fukushima Prefecture. Later it was found that these activities play a role in revitalizing local communities, so Rakuten Mobile Library services were also launched in Gifu Prefecture, Shimane Prefecture, and Gunma Prefecture in May 2014, July 2014, and November 2014, respectively. As of September 30, 2015, a total of 22,156 children as well as their parents and grandparents have used the service, which now plays a small role within the community. The vehicle traveling around Hokkaido contains around 1,200 books that include picture books, children’s books, and learning books. In addition, it has 20 Kobo Touch eReaders “Kobo Glo HD” provided for use by Rakuten as well as computers providing patrons with opportunities to use a digital library, which makes it the first mobile library in Japan to do so.

*2: Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement between Rakuten and Hokkaido Prefecture:
Rakuten and Hokkaido Prefecture concluded a Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement in 2009 in order to promote initiatives aimed at regional revitalization. This agreement includes measures to share information about Hokkaido, expand sales channels for products made in Hokkaido, and protect the natural environment.

*3: OverDrive, Inc.
OverDrive, Inc. is an American B2B2C digital distributor of eBooks, audio books and other content for libraries and educational institutions that has the world’s highest penetration rate in the sector. OverDrive provides access to over 2.5 million titles from some 5,000 publishers in around 50 countries around the world including the United States, Canada, and the U.K. It provides services directly to more than 30,000 facilities and organizations. 

Overview of Rakuten Mobile Library in Hokkaido

Launch of service: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Link: https://corp.rakuten.co.jp/csr/mobile-library/
*The opening event will be held from 1:00pm on Wednesday, October, 28, 2015 at the Eniwa City Kogane Fureai Center.
・ Titles: approx. 1,200
・ Categories: Children’s books that include mainly picture books for pre-schoolers
eReaders (Kobo Glo HD)
・ Number: 20 Kobo Glo HD (for borrowing)
・ Contents: Initially, free content from Aozora Bunko and other publishers
Digital Library
・ Contents: 200 titles mainly in Japanese
・ Categories: Children’s picture books and general books, such as novels and recipe books, etc.

October Travel Schedule
1:00 – 4:00pm, Wednesday, October 28: Eniwa Kogane Fureai Center
(5-11-1 Kogane Minami, Eniwa City)
10:00am – 12:30pm, Thursday, October 29: Ehon no Mori                      
(3-12-20 Sakuramachi, Eniwa City)
2:00 – 4:00pm, Friday, October 30: Tsukushi Club                      
(45-2 Oyafunecho, Ishikari City)

November Travel Schedule
1:00 – 2:15pm, Monday, November 9: Hobetsu Elementary School
(114-2 Hobetsu, Mukawa Town, Yufutsu District)
9:30am – 1:00pm, Tuesday, November 10: Biratori Elementary School
(105-6 Honcho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
2:20pm – 4:00pm, Tuesday, November 10: Furenai Elementary School
(30-2 Furenaicho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
9:30am – 1:00pm, Wednesday, November 11: Biratori Municipal Library                
(35-1 Honcho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
2:00 – 5:00pm, Wednesday, November 11: Nibutani Afterschool Children’s Classroom
(78-12 Nibutani, Biratani Town, Saru District)
3:00 – 5:00pm, Thursday, November 12: Atsuga Suzuran Daycare and Children’s Club
(214-1Atsugacho, Hidaka Town, Saru District)
10:00am – 1:00pm, Friday, November 13: Memuro Tetsunan Daycare                  
(6-1 Nishi, 2 Jo Minami, Memuro Town, Kasai District)
1:00 – 4:00pm, Saturday, November 14: Sarabetsu Village Farming and Environmental Improvement Center Library 
(96-11 Sarabetsu Minami 2 Sen, Sarabetsu Village, Kasai District)
2:00pm – 4:00pm, Saturday, November 21: Neiparu Fukagawa Reading Camp Special Event
(2-7-1 Otoecho, Fukagawa City)
9:30am – 1:00pm, Tuesday, November 24: Biratori Elementary School
(105-6 Honcho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
2:20 – 4:00pm, Tuesday, November 24: Furenai Elementary School
(30-2 Furenaicho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
9:30am – 2:00pm, Wednesday, November 25: Biratori Municipal Library
(35-1 Honcho, Biratori Town, Saru District)
3:00 – 5:00pm, Wednesday, November 25: Nibutani Afterschool Children’s Classroom       
(78-12 Nibutani, Biratori Town, Saru District)
3:00 – 5:00pm, Thursday, November 26: Atsuga Suzuran Daycare and Children’s Club
(214-1 Atsugacho, Hidaka Town, Saru District)
10:00am – 1:00pm, Friday, November 27: Memuro Tetsunan Daycare
(6-1 Nishi, 2 Jo Minami, Memuro Town, Kasai District)
1:00 – 4:00pm, Saturday, November 28: Sarubetsu Village Farming and Environmental Improvement Center Library 
(96-11 Sarubetsu Minami 2 Sen, Sarabetsu Village, Kasai District)

December Travel Schedule
Time to Be Determined, Saturday, December 5: Neiparu Forest Special Readers Weekend
(657-15, Komagatake, Mori Town, Kayabe District) 

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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