Friday, August 12, 2011

Street Books: A Mobile Library for the Homeless

Street Books
is a mobile library for the homeless founded in June 2011 in Portland, Oregon, by artist and writer Laura Moulton. Relying on the honor system, the library grants patrons a library card and borrowing privileges without proof of residence or other identification. A card catalog system is used to track books although no due dates are utilized; patrons simply return books when finished.

Street Books is powered by a specially constructed three-wheeled bicycle to transport and display books for lending. As part of the project's documentation, Moulton maintains the Street Books blog, which records her interactions with some of the library's many borrowers. A grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council helped establish and staff the project.

The short documentary shown above was produced by Travis Shields; Street Books was also featured in a recent Library Journal article.

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