When I was a little girl we moved to a neighborhood in Amarillo, Texas that was far from the public library. However, we discovered something that was, to me at least, absolutely magical. The Bookmobile. Once a week, a trailer pulled into the parking lot across the street from our apartment building, and opened the door to a mobile library. I was usually first in line, anxious to get the next Cherry Ames or Nancy Drew, or discover the “new” classic the librarian, who made a point of getting to know her patrons, had set aside for me. She gave me The Little Princess, still one of my favorite books. I came from a family of readers, but I believe that my life-long love of books and reading actually began with that trailer full of books in the parking lot of the local grocery store.
A friend recently Tweeted that, the average suburban child “reads” 1700 hours of picture books before kindergarten. The actual inner city child, 25 hours. That simple statistic breaks my heart. It also has me thinking about Bookmobiles.
So here’s what I’m wondering. What about a Bookmobile for the inner city, but not one from the library. I love libraries, but I realize that the whole borrow-return-borrow-return may not work very well for inner city kids with parents who are struggling just to live. So, why not stock up a trailer with books and give them away, and then come back next week and give away some more. If the kids wanted to, they could return them and pick up new ones, but they wouldn’t have to. It would be staffed by people like that wonderful librarian who used to set books aside for me.
So, now all I need is a trailer, books, and money to run the thing. So, what I really need is a sponsor. Hmmmmmmm………