I think I have a thing for South American mobile libraries. Check this one out:
This is the Bicicloteca, operated by Robson Mendonça, age 61. Inspiration for this mobile library came to Mendonça during his homeless years, when he was unable to check out books from his local library because he didn’t have a permanent address. With the help of the Instituto Mobilidade Verde, Mendonça created the Bicicloteca (a combination of the Portuguese words for “bicycle” and “library”). Now he rides around São Paulo, Brazil, loaning books to anyone he meets, including the homeless. Borrowers can either return their books to the Bicicloteca or pass them along to someone else.
In just the first four months of operation, Mendonça loaned out over 4,200 books, 90% of which were returned. The Bicicloteca is capable of carrying up to 150 kilos of books (approximately 300 books). There are over 17,000 donated books in the Bicicloteca’s collection, and Mendonça hopes to one day have ten Biciclotecas in operation throughout Brazil.
As an employee of a public library, I understand the “permanent address” rule. Even with that requirement in place, we lose a lot of materials and fines every year. It would be wonderful to view those lost materials in a positive light – at least they’re out there, hopefully enriching someone’s life – but unfortunately, most of our (very limited) funds come from taxpayer money and we have to account for every penny spent. This is one of the reason I love libraries in all forms, be they public or private, government, individual, or community owned. No single person or organization can do everything, but we all can do something. And maybe one day all those somethings will add to up everything.
Hats off to you, Robson Mendonça. Three hearty cheers for the Bicicloteca!
Read the Library Love Fine Print here.