THE greater Lismore community has waved goodbye to a treasured asset with the retirement of veteran Richmond-Tweed Mobile Library officer Michael Riddle.
Having been in charge of the mobile library since 1982, Mr Riddle has probably driven more than 600,000km in the library's truck, which pays weekly visits to the villages of Nimbin, Clunes, Dunoon and Modanville.
During his time, Mr Riddle has seen the original 4.8m long truck transform into its current incarnation as a 14.3m pop-out high-tech literary oasis and watched book lovers grow from children into adults with children of their own.
The advent of the computer age has had its downfalls, he said.
A librarian's life was a little "more friendly and relaxed" before the addition of computers and the internet.
"In the days of the card borrowing system, you would interact with the customer more," Mr Riddle said.
"Now we tend to work through the computer."
Nevertheless the mobile library he has devotedly serviced remains crucial for the wider Lismore community, travelling 760km every fortnight to lend more than 50,000 books a year.
Interestingly, the kind of books we borrow hasn't changed much in his 32 years behind the lending desk.
"Crime books and children's books are most popular. That hasn't changed."
His colleagues were united in their praise.
NIMBIN: 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-5pm outside Nimbin Neighbourhood Centre every Thursday.
CLUNES: Tuesday fortnight. 9-10am
DUNOON: Tuesday fortnight. 11.15am-12.15pm
MODANVILLE: Tuesday fortnight. 2-3.30pm
The library is estimated to lend 1034 books a week with a total of 53,803 loans a year, and travels 760km every fortnight, providing the service to more than 23,000 people a year.