Founded in June, 2011, Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library, serving people who live outside in Portland, Oregon. Patrons are issued an official Street Books library card without being required to show proof of address or identification. We use an old-school library pocket and a card that patrons sign and leave with us. During our thrice-weekly shifts, patrons stop by to check out and return library books. They are invited to be photographed with their book, and these photos and stories are collected at our site.
Early on, naysayers said that the books wouldn’t be returned. To be honest, we didn’t know whether or not this was true. We decided to operate the library on the assumption that people living outside have more pressing concerns than returning a library book, and that every time a return came in, it would be cause for celebration. Four years into the project, patrons have returned with their books, or sought us out to tell us they’d be unable to do so. We are committed to providing good literature, and conversations about literature, for those who are often pushed to the margins. Since June 2011, we have checked out thousands of paperbacks in all genres, from sci-fi to romance to memoir. James Patterson to Jeanette Walls to Flannery O’Connor and Stephen King. Street Books has fostered engagement between our patrons and the housed community, and good books and conversations form the bridge.
Current Hours: 10-1
Tuesdays, R2D2 (at NW 4th & Burnside) & Skidmore Fountain – Laura Moulton
Wednesdays, Worker’s Center, MLK Blvd. & St. Francis Parish (SE 12th & Oak Street) – Diana Rempe
Thursdays, NW Park blocks, including Elephant Park, Sisters of the Road & Bud Clark Commons – Redd Moon
Street Librarian Laura Moulton, is an artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about her work at: http://lauramoulton.org