If you are passionate about education and looking for a way to engage with children and adults to help them increase and develop their knowledge, why not start your own Mobile Library initiative? Starting one up is actually quite easy! While some might say that books are of the past and the internet is the future, I agree that there is room for both and if not one, then definitely the other. At this point starting a mobile library or “bookmobile” is easier and simpler to action, so I say: go for it!
The point of a mobile library is to make books available to those living in rural areas at no cost. You would make daily, weekly or monthly visits to far out areas and the residents can then scan through your library and take out books, which they can then return at your next appearance or alternatively the can read then and there. This is just one way of making literature available to those who would otherwise never have the opportunity of reading great works of art or learning from other’s resources.
A Step -For-Step Guide On How To Start Your Own Mobile Library
Firstly, I recommend that you register your initiative as a Non-Profit Organization, this will help with the next step, funding.
If you are a millionaire, then you are sorted and the next few steps will be easy for you. But, if like me, you don’t have funds readily available, then you might need to approach people or businesses for funding. Requesting funding for a legal and registered NPO is much easier than a non-registered charity. As an NPO, the companies that invest in your charity will be able to claim back on taxes, give them good reason to donate!
Following step 2, you could also organize some fundraising events/initiatives to raise funds as well as to start building your library of books. Some ideas:
- Ask your local stores if you can put collection boxes at their till where people can donate old and new books.
- Approach libraries and request that they donate their old books to you, instead of selling them (which some libraries do).
- Plan fundraising events. Raffles, fun walks, dinner galas and cookie sales are all examples of easy to organize fundraising events that can help bring in the funds you need.
You will need to purchase a large van, preferably on that is modified on the inside to shelve books and accommodate a handful of browsers at a time. A bus or truck would be ideal, but you could still do good with a smaller van.
Make your mobile van recognizable. Invest in vehicle signage that promotes your cause as well as announces to your “readers” that you have arrived and what your presence means. A good idea is to get a corporate company to sponsor your vehicle and it’s signage, you can give them recognition in the design and their company can be advertised as a sponsor (a win win situation).
You will then have to decide upon which areas you would like to visit and a draw up a schedule. It is best that you visit the same location at the same time on the same days, so that your readers can expect you and are hopefully ready and waiting.
Then you will have to create a system for your books. Some mobile libraries insist that the books are read there and then, while others allow the readers the opportunity to take the books home and then return them at your next appearance. If the latter is the case then you will need to capture the details of those who are borrowing the books to ensure that they are safely returned.
You will need to continuously build your library and you will have overheads, although they will be few. Fundraising will have to be done often and it might be a good idea to find volunteers who are willing to for a fund-raising committee on your NPO’s behalf.
A good idea is to also hold talks in the communities you visit, where you discuss the appreciation of books e.g. how to care for them and keep them neat and clean. This will help make your library last longer and grow faster.
Last but not least, create continuous awareness of your initiative so that it grows. Approach newspapers, radio stations, government libraries and the likes and request that they help promote your good cause.
Reading is a magic that everyone should have the opportunity of experiencing and building a cause that helps bring this magic t people can have many rewards. There is so much to be learnt, why not participate in sharing the knowledge?