Meet Portland’s “Street Librarian”

Blogtown – “The Mercury’s new location is already paying off: This morning, Steve messaged me to tell me to look out the window, because “There’s some weird rolling book thing down there.” When I went down to investigate, I met Laura Moulton, who handed me a business card reading “Street Librarian,” and explained that she recently received a RACC grant to fund a project called Street Books, a mobile library that provides books for the homeless. (Or “people living outside,” to use the website’s wording.) The bike-powered library has a small trailer full of 40-odd books—an impressively diverse collection skewing slightly toward regional authors (Jim Lynch, Benjamin Parzybok, Kevin Sampsell, Tom Robbins). While we spoke, Moulton shuffled through a stack of neatly labeled index cards, cataloguing a book that had just been returned—yes, cue nostalgia, she uses a card catalogue system. She told me that although she started the project with “no expectation that books would be returned,” she’s had about 6 books returned of 25 or so lent out since the project began in early June.”

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