GOOD

The Book Truck: Mobile Library Hits Mexico City's Streets

In Mexico City, a mobile library on a freight truck totes around 1500 books on visual art and culture to bring contemporary art into public dialogue.

Following the explosion of food truck popularity, it’s no longer a surprise to see hearth-baked pizza, ice cream-topped waffles, or even organic vegetables emerge from inside a four-wheeled vehicle. But a new project in Mexico City adds even more variation to the truck's creative resume, by placing less of a gastronomic and more of an intellectual spin on the word “taste.”


Local arts nonprofit Alumnos47 has converted a Freightliner M2 20K truck into a 215 square-foot mobile library with the capacity for 1,500 books on visual art and culture. Designed by architecture firm PRODUCTORA, this bibliophile's dream emerged out of a project the foundation was working on for years: a brick and mortar public library in the San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood, specializing in contemporary art. When the team realized that the main library would take roughly three more years to become a reality, they decided to take their book collection to the streets.

"Mobile libraries are not new in history," says Citlali López Maldonado, the Mobile Library Coordinator at Alumnos47. In fact, the project is a nod to Mexico's educational roots. "Public education programs in Mexico began with mobile libraries in rural communities. Nowadays we can see many examples of them in Latin America, Spain and the United States, as well."

By driving the mobile art library throughout various neighborhoods in the capital for two months at a time, Alumnos47 hopes to spark conversation and an appreciation for contemporary art with a curated selection of books for the public. "The purpose," according to Maldonado, "is not just to bring books to citizens into public space but to take out contemporary art products from their common places of consumption, such as galleries and restricted libraries."

Wherever it stops, the truck hosts a mix of workshops, seminars, and special events, relying on an interchangeable design to take advantage of every inch of space. Books are stacked on overhead trays to free up the main floor for events, allow a seamless transition from library to cultural center. Future events will include audiovisual presentations, book readings, and artist talks. Coloring and performance workshops make kids feel at home. Though visitors are not yet allowed to check out the books to take home, the truck takes the mold of a reading room, welcoming patrons to take books outside the truck, find a nice spot to read, and listen to music courtesy of the truck's speakers.

The truck currently rests in downtown Mexico City, after visiting art schools, music festivals, and cultural centers. Its plans include going east next, visiting the Iztapalapa neighborhood and Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, and the goal is to make it a permanent project.

"People love the truck. They get very impressed about the inside space, the book collection and the possibilities it offers for finding images, book reading and getting acquainted with contemporary art," Maldonado says. "Mexico City has a huge cultural offering that we intend to be a part of so that people from the neighborhoods get accustomed to see our truck full of art books."

Photos via PRODUCTORA

Articles

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture