Book Mobiles

Librarian Shares Her Love of Books with a Bike-powered Mobile Library

In 2013, school librarian Alicia Tapia created Bibliobicicleta, a free, mobile library pulled by bike. Since then, Tapia and Bibliobicicleta have rolled up to San Francisco parks, farmers markets, museums, and beaches to distribute free books and help spread a love of reading.

From Librarian Shares Her Love of Books with a Bike-powered Mobile Library - Shareable


Librarians @ the Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) Now this was a cool job, being part of a brand new program from Virginia Beach Public Library, initiated by librarian Kellye Carter, called Books at the Beach.

On this day another librarian with 33 years experience was helping us out, Denise Barnhart. The WVEC reporter, Joe Flanagan (pictured, center) was worried that offering free books to Oceanfront visitors may be a challenge because he didn't have any librarian skills.

"We can teach that. We can't teach compassion. We can't teach caring. But we can teach anybody how to do the day-to-day things," said Kellye Carter, manager of the Oceanfront Area Library. The books were collected by the Friends of the Library.

Bookmobile Memories

From The LA Times

Bookmobiles have been a fixture of rural American life since the 19th century, when horse-drawn book wagons stenciled with gold lettering read Free Library. There were low-slung black panel trucks in the 1930s, side doors open to shelves, with children sitting on the wide fenders turning pages.

In the Riverside (CA) Public Library recently, I read the catalog from the Gerstenslager Co. in Wooster, Ohio, which built bookmobiles for the nation. Children and adults stood in line to ascend a few stairs and be inside a real library, albeit one with shelves set on a slight incline, so books wouldn't fall out when the coach was moving.


Librarian Laurence Copel Earns Lemony Snicket 'Noble Librarians' Recognition

Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. On June 29, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

"Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents. Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."

Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. Story via

Once Forbidden, Books Become A Lifeline For A Young Migrant Worker

Growing up moving from farm to farm, Storm Reyes had to pack light. That meant no books. She felt hopeless about the future, until a bookmobile appeared in the fields and changed her life.

storycorps piece at NPR


Historical Photos of Early Bookmobiles

from Laughing Squid.

Here's a real oldie via Bennington College's Crossett Library:


Books on Bikes Attract Seattle Millenials

From NPR, a new program to deliver books to Seattlites via bike.

By the loading dock of Seattle's downtown library, librarian Jared Mills checks his tire pressure, secures his iPads and locks down about 100 books to an aluminum trailer the size of a steamer trunk. The scene is reminiscent of something you'd see in an action movie, when the hero is gearing up for a big fight, but Mills is gearing up for something very different.

"If you're not prepared and don't have a lot of experience hauling a trailer, it can be kind of dangerous," Mills says, especially when you're going downhill. "The trailer can hold up to 500 pounds."

Mills is part of Seattle Public Library's Books on Bikes program, which aims to keep the library nimble and relevant by sending librarians and their bicycles to popular community events around Seattle.

After a hilly, 5-mile bike ride to a local farmers market, Mills sets up shop among the fruit and vegetable booths. The bright orange trailer is custom-made with bookshelves and an umbrella holder (it is Seattle, after all).

Malena Harrang, in her early 20s, is visiting the market with a friend. She says Mills' book station is "like [a] carbon-neutral library on wheels — doesn't get better than that."

Food trucks inspire mobile bookstore

Combine a bookmobile with a food truck and what do you get? The Penguin Book Truck — and for good measure, the Penguin Book Pushcart.

By combining the concepts of bookmobile and food truck, book-publisher Penguin Group (USA) recently introduced its first mobile bookstore. And just like a good book, there’s a bonus inside: the Penguin Book Pushcart, which rolls out of the truck and down a ramp to make books even more accessible.

From The Detroit News:


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