Review: My Librarian Is a Camel
I have a bookmobile. It brings my books up my small mountain every two weeks, and the librarians that drive the hills and curves are wonderful. I love all librarians, but I do think there’s something special about the ones who choose to come to me. To us.
My bookmobile looks like this.
Apparently, it’s going to look different very soon, since a new bookmobile is currently being displayed at all the county libraries and will start delivering books next year. I’m not sure what this one looks like. I’d be willing to bet, though, that it doesn’t look like this.
According to Margriet Ruurs, that’s because I live in the Santa Cruz mountains, not in Bulla Iftin, Kenya.
Have you checked out Joyce Moyer Hostetter and Carol Baldwin’s newsletter, Talking Story? If not, you should. They have great topics, and every month they give away some wonderful books. Including Margriet Ruurs’ My Librarian is a Camel, which I was lucky enough to win last month.
I love this book. Okay, sure, it was practically a given that I would love a book about different ways to get books to kids, but still…Ruurs did a great job. The book is broken into chapters on different communities around the world, none of which have their own brick-and-mortar libraries–communities that include beach towns in England, an archipelago in Finland, and a refugee settlement in Azerbaijan. In each chapter, you learn a bit about the geography, language, lifestyle, and “feel. of each community, and “meet” specific kids and adults who live there. The photographs, both of the people and the mobile libraries, really give a sense of how different these worlds are from the one I, at least, live in.
What I love most, though, are the stories about and the quotes from the actual librarians. AKA the Heroes. These are the people who care enough to load up the camels (and elephants), to carry boxes of books on their shoulders, for hours, in Papua New Guinea. The librarian working, through Relief International, to get books to those kids in the refugee camp, who said, “For us…the mobile library is as important as air or water.” The gentleman in the suit jacket and rolled-up trousers, pushing the wheelbarrow of books through the surf at Blackpool Beach in England. The drivers of Dastangou (Storyteller), the bus operated by Alif Laila Bookbus Society that takes books to schoolchildren in Pakistan. The peddlers of the bicycle libraries in Surabaya, Indonesia.
I could go on. But I’m not going to. You need to read the book yourself to see all the other committed, passionate librarians and fundraisers and organizers, that believe in the dreams books can create and sustain, and who back up that belief by making these libraries happen. Go ahead, get a copy. It’ll make you remember how much and why you love books, and it’ll make you think about how important it is to share that love.
Thanks to Margriet Ruurs for writing the book, Boyds Mills Press for publishing it, and Joyce & Carol for getting a copy into my hands.