Pasted wholesale from the National Book Foundation website’s winners of the Innovations in Reading Prize: yay Laura!
Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library serving people who live outside in Portland, Oregon. Founded in June 2011, the street library offers a means to check out books for patrons who are unable to do so from regular libraries because they lack identification or proof of address. In nearly a year of operation, hundreds of patrons have been served, many of them becoming regulars who return weekly to the shift to return books and check out new ones. Patrons are invited to be photographed with their books of choice, and contribute their own reviews or stories from the road. These stories can be viewed at Streetbooks.org.
Street Books is committed to providing good literature, and conversations about literature, for those who are often pushed to the margins. Patrons have checked out hundreds of paperbacks in all genres, from sci-fi to romance to memoir, by authors ranging from James Patterson and Jeannette Walls to Flannery O’Connor and Stephen King. Street Books has created a greater engagement between its patrons and the larger housed community, and built a bridge with literature between the two. The Street Books project has been featured in national and international media, including Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newstalk Radio in Ireland.