'Street Books' bringing mobile library to homeless people in Por - KPTV - FOX 12

'Street Books' bringing mobile library to homeless people in Portland

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Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV
Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV

Mobile librarians are bringing books by bicycle to homeless people around Portland.

The service is called Street Books.

Street librarian Diana Rempe was parked in front of the St. Francis Church in southeast Portland on Thursday.

"Certainly we need a warm place to sleep, we need food, but we also need the things that make us human and connect us to other people, like books," she said.

There's a checkout process for Street Books, which was founded in 2011, but there's no library card and it runs on an honor system.

Rempe said escapist and spiritual literature are usually popular selections, but the tastes for literature on the streets run the full gamut.

One homeless man named Brent said Thursday that the books help pass the time.

"It takes your mind off stuff," he said. "The world can get heavy sometimes."

Brent said he's read Jack Kerouac in the past, but he has never finished the book he checked out Thursday, "Big Sur."

"He's becoming a drunk and I struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction," Brent said of the book's main character. "That's probably why I didn't get through it, maybe that's why I chose it, I don't know."

The librarians of Street Books travel to eight different locations every week where homeless people are known to camp or gather around Portland. The group is seeking donations to go toward staffing library shifts, maintaining the bicycle and buying used paperback books for the library.

For more information, go to streetbooks.org.

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