Bringing Books to the Homeless Kids: One Suitcase at a Time

nembhard-nytCredit: Photo by Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Each week for the past eight years, with a suitcase stuffed with books, librarian Colbert Nembhard leaves the Morrisania Branch Library in the Bronx for a 10 minute walk to the Crotona Inn homeless shelter.

Once there he turns “the shelter’s day care room or its dimly lighted office into an intimate library” and the magic begins.

Mr. Nembhard goal is to encourage children to have a lifelong relationship with libraries and its’ working. His program has served as the model for a citywide initiative to place small libraries at shelters for families. 30 shelters are now participating and in September, the Library of Congress recognized New York City’s Department of Homeless Services for best practices in literacy for this Library Pilot Project.

And if that’s not enough to earn Mr. Nembhard librarian knighthood then it will be the smiles on the faces of the kids at the Crotona Inn homeless shelter when they hear the wheels of the suitcase coming down the hall for library time that should do it.

24librarian1-master768Credit: Photo by Christian Hansen for The New York Times

More at the New York Times :  A Bronx Librarian Keen on Teaching Homeless Children a Lasting Love of Books

The World’s First Mobile Library; A ‘Jacobean Kindle’

Jacobean Kindle

The year was 1617. William Hakewill MP commissioned it to give as a gift to a friend. And it just might be the first mobile library.

The Jacobean miniature travelling library consisted of 50 gold-tooled vellum-bound miniature books contained in a wooden case that resembled a large folio.

Inside there were three shelves for the books. The inside cover was an illuminated table of contents. The subject matter covered history, poetry, theology and philosophy and included works by Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, Horace and Julius Caesar.

It was the perfect gift for a reader on the go and must of been a hit for within the next five years Hakewill had 3 others made.

Jacobean Kindle closed


Jacobean Kindle table of contents


Jacobean Kindle books

Jacobean Kindle 1

The rare miniature travelling library is part of the Brotherton Collection of rare manuscripts, photographs and books housed at Leeds University and thanks to a  £1.3m Heritage Lottery grant will go on display in late 2015 in a newly built gallery.

The three other known copies live at the British Library, the Huntington Library and the Toledo Museum of Art Ohio.

Story and  more images at Daily Mail Online.


After years of military rule books and hope are returning to Myanmar

Myanmar library.

After decades of repression and censorship the people of Myanmar are getting their books and libraries back!

Since the military leadership lost power in 2011, the country has developed a network of mobile libraries to compensate for the vast network of public libraries that are in various states of disarray. Through the non-profit Daw Khin Kyi Foundation foundation, created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and new leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, resources are being harnessed “to promote health, education and living standards”.

As you can imagine, little energy went to the development or care of the library system during military rule. The libraries were in complete neglect and, according to the Asia Foundation, nearly 90% of the books in these libraries were religious in nature.  

Also underway is the eLibrary Myanmar project which is being implemented by EIFL and will provide academics and students online access to a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary collection of scholarly resources.

Hope has returned. 

Myanmar mobile library

Myanmar mobile library 1

Myanmar mobile library 2

More at CNN World: Myanmar comes in from cold with bookish revival