My Librarian is a Camel is an informational text describing the ways children around the world access books.
In Australia, huge trucks and trailers carry books to children who cannot access the library in a city. This mobile library is also solar-powered, which powers six computers, three air-conditioning units, fluorescent lights, nine spotlights, a stereo system, wheelchair lift, microwave oven, refrigerator, toilet, and two sinks!
In Azerbaijan, refugee children wait for the blue truck to deliver books. This library allows children to borrow books for a couple of hours each week. The trucks travel through two regions of this country; unfortunately, there aren’t enough trucks or books to reach all of the children of Azerbaijan.
In the arctic region of Nunavut in Canada, children access books through email or phone. The Borrow-by-Mail program sends books to children and even includes a stamped, addressed envelope for the children to return the books, free of charge. The children keep the books for six weeks and then walk to the post office to return them and wait for the next big brown package.
The Blackpool Beach Library in England brings books by wheelbarrow directly to people on the beach. People can return the books to the wheelbarrow on another day when it goes by. England also has a children’s mobile library van that travels to the countryside to deliver books to children that don’t have access to a regular public library.
In Finland, the Pargas Library brings people to the small islands by book boat. The boat, called Kalkholm, carries about six hundred books and consists of a librarian and an assistant. The boat only goes out from May to October due to the severe winters.
In Indonesia, rivers are the main means of transportation for floating libraries. The Kalimantan Floating LIbrary is a wooden boat that carries up to five hundred books. The librarians leave behind containers filled with books, allowing people plenty of time to read their books before returning them. In the city of Surabaya, a bicycle library makes its rounds every day; this library is powered by man, and easily gets around the narrow winding streets of the city, providing books to schools in the countryside and villages.
In the deserts of Kenya, library camels are on the road five days a week carrying heavy loads of books; one camel can carry as many as five hundred books! Students eagerly wait as the librarian pitches a tent and displays the books on wooden shelves. They may borrow their new books for two weeks, and then trade them in when the camel returns.
In Mongolia, the people live a nomadic lifestyle, therefore needing a horse-drawn wagon and a camel to carry books into the desert. A minibus, carrying ten thousand books, also makes trips to bring books to people in the countryside.
The Alif Laila Bookbus Society in Pakistan is a double-decker bus called Dastangou, or storyteller. This bus carries six thousand books to children in schools weekly or bi-weekly, but children may not take the books home, or else there will not be enough books for the next school.
In Papua, New Guinea, volunteers begin their journey in a four-by-four truck. Then they walk four hours in difficult terrain carrying the boxes of books on their shoulders. Not only do these volunteers deliver books, they also deliver medicines, such as antibiotics and aspirin.
In Peru, there are several ways that readers can access books. CEDILI-IBBY is an organization that delivers books in bags to families; each bag contains twenty books, which families keep for a month. In rural communities, books are delivered in wooden suitcases and plastic bags. The community can keep and share these books for three months and they are stored in the reading promoter’s home. In Cajamarca, the reading promoter orders books and lends them to his or her neighbors. Lastly, the Fe Y Alegria brings books to children’s schools by wagon.
In Thailand, most people cannot read or write, but elephant book delivery can hopefully change that. More than twenty elephants are used to carry books to thirty-seven villages, providing education for almost two thousand people. In Bangkok, old train carriages have been transformed into a library which serves homeless children; here, the children learn to read and write.
Zimbabwe uses a donkey cart to deliver books to schools in rural communities. Schools keep the books for a month at a time, and work hard to maintain a regular schedule. The donkey cart also brings a solar-powered TV and VCR to children who have never watched TV. They also plan to add a computer and satellite in the near future.