When one library closes…

Every book blogger’s worst nightmare is coming true for me – my local library is closing! Luckily it’s only temporary, and for a good reason (the big building they’ve been constructing is ready to be stocked up with books and will be opening in 8-10 weeks!) but the timing is terrible! I’m picking up Paper Towns by John Green tomorrow, and I think I’ll have to grab a few more books to hold me over until the new building opens up.

I can’t wait for the Grand Opening of the new library! I’ll take my camera and make a post about it. The library in my hometown is HUGE with several smaller branch libraries scattered around the city; working with a system that has had several small branches and no large “home” library has been a learning experience for me. With the opening of the new Gaithersburg library, though, it should be more what I’m used to.

eugene libraryThe library I grew up with in Eugene, Oregon, outgrew its building my freshman year of college and moved to this beautiful building, built specifically for it. Through our various moves to southern California, North Carolina, and now Maryland, I’ve never found a library that quite matched it in size or scope. I’m very hopeful for the new Gaithersburg library though.

Gaithersburg_Lib_StreetConceptThis is a piece of concept art for it – all those windows remind me of my hometown library pictured above!

new-gaithersburg-libraryThis is a look at how it’s actually shaping up. It looks pretty good from outside, so I’m very excited to see it stocked with books! In the meantime, if I REALLY need to, I can go to another branch library; there’s one in Rockville, which is a bit of a drive but not too bad.

What does your local library look like?

Mobile Libraries: Bringing books to hard-to-reach places.


I just learned about this via a Facebook post to an old news story, but a little bit of research shows this dude is still going strong. This man is Luis Soriano, and he brings books (and literacy!) to rural areas in Colombia. Soriano is an elementary school teacher, with a degree in Spanish literature. He bought two burros – Alfa and Beto – and travels around the Magdalena district of Colombia, helping kids with their homework and reading to them! He’s the subject of a CNN news story and a PBS special. There’s at least two children’s books written about him! (And another book about interesting mobile libraries.)

Soriano is really impressive; he’s been tied up by bandits (annoyed that he didn’t have any money), fractured his leg when he fell from his donkey, and more recently had a leg amputated due to a donkey accident, but he’s still committed to bringing books to children! (According to Wikipedia, at least, though I’m having trouble finding a current website or blog for him.)

BooktankSoriano isn’t the only one finding creative ways of bringing books to people. In Argentina, the Arma de Instruccion Masiva, or “Weapon of Mass Instruction” travels the streets of Buenos Aires, bringing books to all. (Video and more photos at the link, and you can find him on Facebook.) Raul Lemesoff turned his 1979 Ford Falcon into a library tank! The library consists of about 900 books and growing.

bookcamelKenya’s mobile library travels on the back of a camel! They have a website and a novel written about their work. It was started in 1996 and travels to four settlements per day, four times a week, with 12 camels! They’re always looking for donations, and their website has details for how to donate.


In Zimbabwe, donkey-pulled carts, organized by the Rural Libraries and Resources Development Programme, bring books to rural areas.

There are many other unique mobile libraries, from classic cars to bicycle trailers to boats. Seeing people so passionate about sharing the joy of reading is really inspiring, and I definitely won’t take my local library for granted anymore! I may even need to go through my own stacks and see about donating a few to some of these, though parting with books is something that I find it incredibly hard to do.

When was the last time you went to the library?