Back in the days, we had bookmobiles!

Many of you probably don’t remember that time before Amazon, before even the internet was a thing, people still managed to bring books home though. Most of them went to the local bookstore or to the library, but what about the country folks or the people living in the suburbs who did not have this chance?

Well just like Pepperidge Farm, BlookUp remembers. Bookmobiles, were the solution to those who lived too far away from the city and thus did not (or hardly) have access to the riches and joy that brought books. We have to travel back to the late 1850’s in Warrington (England) to see what is believed to be the first bookmobile, a horse-drawn van full of books. Behind this idea was a philanthropist, called George Moore whose project was to spread the goods of literature to the small villages around the city.

The Perambulating library of Harrington in 1859, believed to be the first of its kind.

Needless to say people spread the word and the concept continued growing to the point of reaching the United States. Ultimately horses were replaced by cars, more efficient, and allowing the librarian to carry more books. Bookmobiles eventually reached the peak of their popularity in the mid 20th century before slowly disappearing.

Photo of a bookmobile in the 1920’s. Credits – Numismatic Bibliomania Society

However there still are a few of them out there, their goal remained the same: diffusing good literature and educating those who need it the most. Many libraries like San Francisco Public Library or Toronto Public Library have bookmobiles driving around the city, who knows maybe one day you’ll see one of these mobile libraries too!

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University of Chicago’s automated library!

Let us continue our little tour of the libraries around the world with something a little bit different from what we have been showing you so far. We are crossing the Atlantic ocean, off to University of Chicago, Illinois!

The Joa and Rika Mansueto Library, to call it by it’s official name, is unlike any other library you have seen before because it is totally automated! The students of the University of Chicago do not have to walk around some aisles to look for a particular book or to ask the librarian whether the said book is available or not.

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Mansueto Library’s glass dome containing the Grand Reading Room

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Instead,  the students can browse through the online catalogue of the Mansueto library to see if the book they are looking for is available, order it right away, and by the time they walk to the library the book will be waiting for them.

How is this possible you might ask? Well it all comes down to the library’s ingenious design.  The Mansueto library is like an Iceberg, you can merely see a third of it: On the surface there are no aisles nor shelves,  the whole space is dedicated to reading, everything is happening beneath the surface.

The inside of the Grand Reading Room

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The library has a storage vault buried 20 meters deep into the ground, consisting in 24 000 bins, each of them containing up to 100 books. While most (if not all) libraries sort their books by subject or author, the Mansueto library sorts its books by size to optimize the space of their bins.

Every book is marked on the spine with a barcode that is scanned each time the book leaves or comes back to the library.  Meanwhile,  five mechanical cranes move alongside the racks to find and lift the bin containing the book that has been ordered by a student to the surface. The student is notified by email when the book has been scanned and is ready to be picked up.

While many will salute the technical prouesse of building an automated library others will mourn the loss of their good old wooden shelves as well as the feeling of walking and browsing through the aisles. What do you think about the Mansueto automated library? Is it the result of a genius mind’s work or is it too much of a change?

Source – Photos by Tom Rossiter

Children books in a box with Bookroo!

kids-readingDo you have children, nephews, nieces or godchildren and you still have trouble finding what kind of books to offer them?

Our kind always used reading as a communication tool between generations, and as such, we want to transmit values, memories, but we can sometimes be afraid to impose them or to invest too early, to shock, to not be understood… In short, it’s not so easy to choose!

Well, take a deep breath because BlookUp found the perfect solution to offer books all year round without fearing the lack of idea!

Discover Bookroo!

logo-bookroo Bookroo consists in a 1, 3, 6 or 12-month subscription during which you will receive at home (within all US territory and also Canada, for an additional $11 per month), each month, a box filled with books chosen for you in accordance with the way you filled out the subscription form!

Customization options are limited to the kids’ age (from 0 to 2 and 2 to 6): The idea is really to send you (or to the kids you are offering the gift to) books “that you don’t already know and are not easy to be found online or in stores”. 

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Those books, for example, were the ones sent during the last few months!

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So it’s a whole surprise that is coming in a beautiful cardboard box, and within it, books separately and elegantly wrapped like presents!

Do you like the idea? Well, go to Bookroo now, choose your subscription time and spread culture, values and imagination all around you!

Turn and print all your digital contents, blogs and social networks into amazing real paper books on blookup.com

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