Laura Moulton, a writing professor from Portland, Oregon has a wonderful aspiration. A dream that delivers a world of fantasy, knowledge and education by providing literature to the homeless.
Moulton rides a bicycle around Portland with her little mobile library she calls, Street Books. Every week she delivers all types of books, of all different genres to over 5,000 people. These people tend to find it too difficult to borrow books from libraries because they lack the required documentation to obtain a simple library card, such as a home address. In addition, their living situations make it difficult to return books on time and in acceptable condition. If it rains for example, it’s very hard to not get wet when you live on the streets among the elements. These faults result in hefty fines of which the patrons cannot pay for obvious reasons. In contrast, Street Books charges no fee for borrowing, or even if a book cannot be returned in acceptable condition, or at all for that matter.
Almost 40% of homeless in America are under the age of eighteen. Many homeless people, including adults, lack basic education and have no means of being able to correct this. They cannot afford to go to school and they can’t afford to borrow books from the library, therefore making it near impossible for them to ever be able to achieve a bright future.
Street Books began in June 2011 not knowing how successful this venture would prove to be. With the assumption in mind that barely any of their books would ever be returned, resulting in a cause for celebration if they did, five years later there is a solid rate of return. For those that fail to be returned to the Street Books mobile bicycle library, patrons often seek them out to inform them why the book has not been returned, usually due to rain damage or theft. For patrons who cannot get hold of Moulton, they are urged to pass the book(s) on to someone else who might also enjoy reading them. Street Books are committed to providing literature for those pushed to the margins and feel proud to engage in, and promote good conversations about such literature.
What Laura Moulton, and the seven other helpful peddler’s are doing is fantastic. It provides those who are less fortunate in America with something to look forward to, something to do, a fantasy world to escape to for a while, and a means of self education to provide themselves with the chance of a better future.
Featured Image via Pixabay