Tag: libraries

These 5 Mobile Libraries Are Changing Kid’s Lives

It’s no secret that books can change a person’s life and growth, and for children this is even more true. The harsh truth is this is a fact that many of us can take for granted without realizing it. Depending on where you live, access to books may be as easy as a click of the mouse. But what about those who have no internet access or even basic necessities? This article is taking a very depressing turn, my apologies, and let me turn this around and say there is hope.

That hope is in a little thing called “mobile libraries.” It’s a new movement occurring in different areas throughout the world, and it brings books, community, and hope to these children looking to shoot for the stars.


Bokbaten Epos (The Library Boat) – Norway


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Image via Elite Readers


With humble beginnings in 1959, the idea of a sea borne library was created and pioneered by who else but librarians. Many small communities that live on islands in the Fjords are virtually isolated from the world in Winter. As small communities, they do not have libraries of their own, and that’s how the Library Boat came to be. The purpose and hope of those behind these boats is to enrich the lives of the isolated communities. With the 6,000 print and audio books that the boat brings, culture and entertainment is brought to the people in what is normally a very bleak time for them. The crew behind this noble cause is the captain to navigate the icy seas, a couple of librarians of course, and a cook and two entertainers to boot! Sounds like the perfect way to warm up on a cold day.



Arma de Instruccion Masiva (Weapon of Mass Instruction) – Argentina


Image via Público


The “Weapon of Mass Instruction” is an art/social project created by artist Raúl Lemesoff. The mobile sculpture is a tuned 1979 Ford Falcon shaped in the appearance of a mini-military tank, barrel and all. According to the blog Público, Raúl’s design most likely “mockingly refers to the tanks of the sinister Military Junta that dismissed Isabel Perón in 1976″, which, in short, was a very politically turbulent time for the country. More than making a political statement however, Raúl’s project is a movement, and I’m not talking about the motor function. The idea is what was once a weapon will now be used to donate books. Transporting more than 2,500 books at a time, Raúl travels across the country to bring culture and education to the to the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Argentine cities. After nine years of book donating, the “Weapon of Mass Instruction” is considered a symbol of protest against actual weapons of mass destruction. The pen is mightier than the sword after all, so rather than being a force of destruction, Raúl Lemesoff’s project is a beacon of peace and reprieve for the youth of Argentina.




Biblioburro (The Donkey Library) – Colombia


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Image via PBS


This book donating program was created in La Gloria, Colombia, by Luis Soriano. As a teacher, Luis was concerned that his students had no access to books at home, and decided to do something about it. What he created was a traveling library that distributes books to its patron from the backs of two Donkeys. Rather than packing the saddles with water, Soriano has adapted his two Donkeys’, Alfa and Beto’s, packsaddles to carry books. Luis’ mission is that people will understand the power of reading and that communities can improve with the right support. How right he is. More than 4,000 children have have benefited from Soriano’s program since it began in 1990. In an interview with BBC, Soriano shared his belief in a child’s growth.

“Kids wise up when they pick up a book. Their surprise and imagination meet together, you see them starting to laugh by themselves, just by seeing the book.”



The Kenyan Camel Library – Kenya


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Image via Wired


Similar to Luis Soriao’s Biblioburro, The Kenyan Camel Library is a mobile library of camels carrying books. Operated by the Garisa office of the Kenya National Library Service, these camels brings books to children in isolated, poor schools within a 15 kilometer radius of the city. With nine camels and three caravans, lends more than 7,000 books to nomads in Kenya’s impoverished North East Province, trekking across vast desserts for days at a time. In spite of the trials, the service has found huge success, with 3,500 members registered. Every time the Camels travel through a town, they are welcomed with open arms and with the glow of excitement on every child’s face. The service is so popular they can’t meet the demand of books, but with what they can do it has made a world of a difference to these children who otherwise would not have as much opportunity.



Bibliomotocarro (Booktruck) – Italy


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Image via giornalemio.it


Retired school teacher Antonio La Cava is the mastermind behind Italy’s booktruck. He put his love of learning and books to use and converted his three-wheeled van into a mobile library with a very homey look to it. The booktruck has a very a welcoming design of a house, complete with a tiled roof, chimney, windows, and a fireplace, but no worry about that last part. The children’s books that Antonio carries are safe from any fire of course. Reaching the most remote places in Italy such as the villages and small towns, Antonio has traveled more than 100,000 kilometers, on three different trucks. For over 16 years he has spread the wonder of reading to children who formerly did not have access to it. Living his retirement to the fullest by continuing his passion as a teacher, Antonio hopes his booktruck brings the message that culture is made by and for everyone, not just a privileged few. In an interview with BBC, Antonio shared his hopes with the world.

“I was strongly worried about growing old in a country of non-readers….carrying out such action has a value, not only social, not only cultural, but has a great ethical meaning.”



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Featured Image via inkefalonia


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The Free Library in Your Front Yard

We all love libraries, but if you’ve ever had to wade twenty minutes through the snow just to get your reserves, you might wish to have one closer to home. And it’s possible! With Little Free Libraries. And fear not! Whether you live in the forest or in Brooklyn, you can make little free libraries part of your life, and you should. What’s better than adding community libraries to the public ones?


Image via Snoop Charlotte


If you’ve got the resources and the space, you can start a library of your own whenever you want to. There are tons of designs and colors on their website, and you can put one anywhere you have two square feet of land and about four vertical. I’ve seen them tucked into gardens, hanging over wrought iron fences, and on the side of the road. Just donate a few books (or thrift them up) and you’re running a library. But if you’re renting, or restless, don’t despair. There are little libraries near you.



Image via Book Riot


Okay, so your library probably won’t be in a defunct phone booth, but the little hutches on the website are cute as it gets, and there’s nothing like getting lost on a cold night and stumbling across a tiny library draped in ivy. But you don’t have to just wander Brooklyn hoping to stumble across something magical (though I do recommend it if you have the time)—because they have a map of all their locations.



Image via Pinterest


There are over 90,000 locations in 90 countries, according to their website, but they can be few and far between in some areas. That’s why it’s so important to start new ones anywhere and everywhere possible! But don’t lose hope. There are two in my neighborhood, so if you’re in any kind of city, you’ll probably have decent luck, and it’s always worth a check either way. There are also sometimes free libraries in parks, so you might be able to find or start one that way. Wherever you live and whatever you read, the Little Free Library is a wonderful resource for book sharing.



Featured image via City of Princeton 




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Enter the World of Secret Libraries

Everyone knows about the libraries that burned, but what about the ones that were hidden? In desert caves and the basements of ancient cities, these libraries were sealed, sometimes for centuries, to protect books from censorship and cataclysm. But don’t worry, not all is lost – some secret libraries are uncovered, and some you can still visit, with the proper credentials



Dunhuang Cave Library

Mogao Grottoes

Image via Thought Co

In a series of sacred caves at the northern edge of the Gobi desert in western China, a hidden treasure trove of manuscripts from between the fourth and eleventh centuries. After being sealed for a thousand years, they were found. It took ten more years for what remained the tens of thousands of manuscripts to be collected by the Chinese government, according to the BBC. Though much was lost, the bright side is that you can view many of these documents from anywhere in the world, thanks to the efforts of The International Dunhuang Project. Happy reading!


Family History of the Silk Road

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Image via Haaretz


An Afghan cave along the silk road held thousands of documents dating to the 11th century, written by a family who lived on the silk road. Written in many languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, according to RT. They aren’t the first to be found – the Ben Daniel family, merchants from northern Afghanistan, left caches and records elsewhere on the silk road, as well – an earlier discovery was made in Egypt. The papers are expected to be sold to an appropriate institution, but nothing is confirmed.


Bodleian Library

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Image via Travel with Mei and Kersten


Actually a series of thirteen libraries spread over Oxford, some more than 400 years old. These libraries are still very much active, but you’ll have to apply, as access is restricted to the most intensive research purposes, both private and institutional. Don’t be too heartbroken, though, if you’re on the wrong side of the pond – you can apply for digital access through their website if you need their collection. I’m going to have to start research on a relevant topic, just for access. And also fly across the world.



Featured image via Bodleian Libraries Blogs

Check Out These Library Memes

Who doesn’t love a public library? Sure, a home library is an essential part of my dream life, but there’s something just essentially wonderful about going to the library. It’s like being ten years old again. My crops are watered. The smell of old books is everywhere. I’m living my best life. Most library memes are about how you should return your books on time, and you should, but here’s a broader selection.

Cliches can be True

Image via Pinterest

It lets you get BOOKS. You don’t even have to buy happiness now. You can check it out. Plus, what’s more fun than going to the library? Nothing. Literally nothing. CHANGE MY MIND. Someone actually tried to bully me for reading a library book. In HIGHSCHOOL. I was so baffled it just bounced right off. Like, yes? Don’t pity the dead, Harry, pity people who don’t understand the joys of the library.



Image via Meme Generator

I’m a GOOD library patron. I am. I don’t spill my tea everywhere, I straighten out dog eared corners, and I wouldn’t highlight a book with a gun to my head, but picture this. It’s some time in January. I’m juggling the aforementioned tea and also eight layers of wool. I don’t track snow all through the library. I’m scanning the holds shelf. And then it happens. COUGHING. I return to the sea in shame.


Did Knife Crow Write This?

Image via BuzzFeed

Just… just try it. Start by reading banned books! Maybe work your way up! I mean, hell, if a librarian told me to do crime, I’d be like… I guess I do crime now. Plus, the ellipses, I swear. There’s a sense of dramatic timing. This suggestion doesn’t just have appeal, it has style. It has pizzazz. I might go loiter somewhere. Librarians made me do it! Just pay your fines on time. We’re rebels, not madmen.


The Hero We Deserved

Image via MEME

As a child, was there anyone more iconic? I mean, I’d use an invisibility cloak to read after hours, but this disaster jock? It’s why we love him, though, isn’t it? Sure, he might be confused, and easily distracted, and good at sports, but when Hermione says ‘Go to the library’ he goes to the library. Truly the hero we deserved as children, and still do now. No knowledge should be behind gates! Let me INNN!



Image via MEME

Alright, it’s only tangentially library related, but someone’s got to know my suffering. It’s phonetic acoustics, not fluid mechanics, but I promise, it’s three AM and I’m crying. What’s Romeo and Juliet to this? The Fault in Our Stars who? I once went to cram just one more chapter of my Cosmology textbook, just really fast, and it was about NUCLEAR FUSION. We all deserve a medal.

Featured image via American Library Magazine

Public Library Responds to Macmillan’s E-Book Controversy

In a draft of a memo sent to Macmillan authors, CEO of the publishing giant, John Sargent, wrote of a new plan to increase revenue made through e-book lending at libraries. “To balance the great importance of libraries with the value of [authors’] work,” Macmillan plans to sell only one copy of any newly-released e-book at $30 to any library. Libraries will then have to wait two months after the title’s release to purchase additional copies at $60.

For those of you who aren’t fluent in corporate-speak, this means Macmillan is essentially trying to squeeze more money out of libraries that already face overly-complicated licensing policies for e-books.


Seattle Public Library

Seattle Public LIbrary, Image via Thestranger.com


In some sense, this new arrangement should come as no surprise. E-books represent a dramatic challenge to the library lending model, and Sargent notes that digital lending is inherently more seamless and involves less friction than its physical counterpart. After all, what’s easier for the reader: traveling to a physical location to check out and return a physical copy or merely downloading an e-book from a library’s database? Still, these proposed changes which are scheduled to come in to effect November 1st have angered quite a few public libraries.



Marcellus Turner, chief librarian of the Seattle Public Library, chose to  respond to these changes in a statement on the library’s website.


Marcellus Turner

Marcellus Turner, Image via the Seattle Public LIbrary


The gist of his response:


  1. Macmillan’s new policy will severely affect the ability of library’s in dense, urban areas to meet their visitors’ needs.
  2. The policy will disproportionately affect readers with limited resources.
  3. Major publishers already charge an increased rate for library copies of e-books, and licensing agreements for e-book lending are already complicated. This change from Macmillan represents an even more restrictive shift in the publishing industry.


Turner ends his message by explaining that public libraries are highly committed to providing access for those that most need it, but Macmillan’s new policy makes that commitment much harder to maintain.


Andrew Harbison, assistant director of collections at access at the Seattle Public Library

Image Via Library as Incubator Project


In an interview with TheStranger.com, Andrew Harbison, assistant director of collections at access at SPL, took issue with Sargent’s claim that e-book lending cannibalizes e-book sales. Though the lending model may need to be re-examined, Harbison contended e-book lending may actually boost sales by “retaining, maintaining, and advocating for a robust reading culture.” Harbison also argued this change will reduce the quality of the collection a library can build, ultimately harming readers who depend on library services.

What do you think? Are Macmillan Publishers in the right for prioritizing their bottom line? Or should libraries be thought of as a public good rather than a money-making tool? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram!



Featured images via TheStranger.com and Seattle Public Library