Margriet Ruurs tells how books get to kids

Reviewed by Mary Rife

Do you want a book to read? In Linn County, you may borrow books from the Linn Library League’s mobile library, same as they use in remote Australian areas, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and England. In Pakistan, due to a book shortage, the children may borrow the books for an hour, so books are available at all stops.

Maybe you go to the beach and have no book to read, but in England, the Blackpool Beach Library delivers books in a wheelbarrow right to the beach.

Boats transport books in Finland and Indonesia. Other delivery systems include camels in Kenya and elephants in Thailand. Donkey carts are used in Peru and Zimbabwe and horse-drawn wagons in Mongolia. Brown boxes take books to the far north in Canada.

Margriet Ruurs has written a book telling how children receive library services in 13 countries around the world. The librarians and volunteers surmount many obstacles, from flooded rivers to hot desert storms and donkeys that won’t cooperate. But they all have one goal: Keep the children reading. One librarian in Azerbaijan said, “For us, the mobile library is as important as air or water.”

This book not only tells of the effort being made to promote literacy by taking books to people in these 13 countries but has numerous photographs of the transporting vehicles, librarians and volunteers and the children devouring the books.

One photo has the caption: “Children in Zimbabwe, like children everywhere, love a good book to read.”