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  • Writer's pictureIlena Alvarez

Books on Wheels

Traveling bookstores/bookmobiles are not a new thing. But they seem to be a labor of love and not common. The rarity is not a statistical fact but a gut feeling. Because every time I see one (and mostly on social media), I am always mesmerized -- that someone took the time to gather books and then go around delivering to others is special.

It takes a plan, a budget, and a vision. The Friends possessed all three when they worked together with the library to provide a van for those unable to make it to the library in a traditional way. Below you will see the Boca Raton Public Library (Discover Connect Imagine) van. The number is prominently displayed along with the public library's logo.

The Friends helped make this happen. Here is a statement in the press release put out by the City of Boca Raton Recreation Services: The Friends of the Library, a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to supporting the Boca Raton Public Library, donated $77,075.00 toward the purchase of the van in celebration of their 30th Anniversary in 2020, but the van’s delivery was delayed due to the pandemic. Friends’ funding is provided through memberships to the Friends organization, grants, and book sales at the bookstore in the Downtown Library. The attractive design on the vehicle is based on the Friends’ logo consisting of a Royal Poinciana tree, a common sight in South Florida.

And if you were curious as to other books on wheels around the country or the world, check these out! Starting top left in the collage below and going clockwise, you have (1) The Remarkable Bookcycle in Compo Beach (and it belongs to the author Jane Green); (2) La Baraque Aux Livres (The Book Hut); (3) a St. Louis pop-up shop, The Last Word; and (4) the Daisy Chain Book Book Co. in Edmonton, Alberta.

(Photo Credit: Instagram: (1) @brigittesbookshelf; (2) @verbatim.books; (3) @bonbonistl; and (4) @albionroadbookclub)

Pictured below is the Grand Rapids Public Library "traveling branch" which premiered in the 1940's in response to the closures of branches during the 30's and the Great Depression. (Photo credit: Instagram @grandrapidspubliclibrary)

And then there's my favorite one of them all!

Here's a bookmobile traveling around, driven by Antonio La Cava, a retired school teacher who drives around Basilicata, Italy (the southern region) in Il Biblio Motocarro.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well! Happy reading!

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