July 23, 2012

Mexico’s library on wheels


A jaw-droppingly beautiful mobile library is doing the rounds of Mexico City. A local arts nonprofit, Alumnos47, had been working for years to bring a brick-and-mortar library of art books to the city, but the goal seemed to slip ever further out of their reach. So instead they converted a truck with an inside space of 215 square feet, which houses 1,500 books. It’s not a loaning library just yet, but when stationed the group converts the area outside to a reading space, with speakers providing background music. The truck also hosts workshops, seminars and events, making it not only a library but a travelling cultural centre. Citlali López Maldonado of Alumnos47 said:

Mobile libraries are not new in history. Public education programs in Mexico began with mobile libraries in rural communities. Nowadays we can see many examples of them in Latin America, Spain and the United States, as well… The purpose is not just to bring books to citizens into public space but to take out contemporary art products from their common places of consumption, such as galleries and restricted libraries.

Look how pretty:

Ellie Robins is an editor at Melville House. Previously, she was managing editor of Hesperus Press.