Reader Submitted Micro Libraries

August 27, 2012

In May, we posted a list of 10 Unusual Micro Libraries that we discovered across the world and then opened the forum to you, our readers, to submit your own sightings of unusual or unique libraries. Following are your submissions, plus a few new finds that popped up along the way. 

From Bunmi Ishola:
Mexico City Book Truck

Book Truck Mobile Library

Food trucks are pretty popular, so why not book trucks? Local arts non profit Alumnos47 in Mexico City constructed a 215 square-foot library on wheels, capable of bringing not only books, but workshops, seminars, and special events to the city’s public. Unfortunately, the books are not yet available for check-out, but the truck provides an idyllic space for reading and learning.


From Lee Shearman:
Engineerium Micro Library

Engineerium Library

These books are literally micro-sized. Each book is handmade and contains eight pages that, when unfolded, display intricate silhouette drawings of 19th-century engines. The books come in a collection of six volumes, making a total of 48 tiny illustrations. 


China's Vending Machine Libraries

Book Vending Machine in China 

These massive machines have popped up all over Beijing, China, and allow residents to check out library books at any time—day or night. There are over 20,000 books to choose from within each machine, and these books make up more than 30% of the books borrowed from Chinese public libraries since 2011.


Chile’s Bibliometro

Photo by gwire/Flickr [in Spanish] 

For over 16 years, Bibliometro in Chile has provided daily subway train commuters with books. Each of the 20 libraries scattered around Santiago contains thousands of books for adults and children to enjoy while they wait for and ride on their trains. Riders can check out a maximum of three books for up to 14 days, and books can be returned at any station. Each library also hosts free wi-fi internet so that commuters can connect to the wider world. At every anniversary, Bibliometro hosts a celebration of literacy and learning for the public to attend.


Chicago’s Book Bike

The Book Bike is just what it sounds like—a bike strapped down with a pile of books. Each weekend (weather permitting) from 2008 to 2011, Gabriel Levinson rode around Chicago’s public parks, handing out approximately 4,000 new and used books to city residents. Each of the books was purchased from an independent bookstore, so anyone who encounters the book bike can go home with a new read—and keep it. The small bicycle library was kept afloat by generous donations from Chicago citizens.


From Kristina Kearns:
Ourshelves Lending Library


Supported by donations from the public and volunteers, Ourshelves is an endeavor in the San Francisco area to bring books to people who may not have the means to read otherwise. The library is a small, member-based lending operation that is curated by local authors and readers. The selections change with each curator, so you never know what you will find!

—Kaitlin Hawkins
Assistant Digital Media Editor