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Mobile Library for Kids

Specially adapted Bibliomotocarro brings books to children in remote southern Italy villages.

As a teacher in a primary school in rural Italy, Antonio La Cava (pictured above) was worried about his young pupils’ growing lack of interest in reading books. His response was to transform a three-wheeled van into a mobile library.

Now 73, he has spent nearly 20 years driving his Bibliomotocarro to bring books to children in the remote villages ( like San Paolo Albanese, which only has two children of primary school age) and communities of Basilicata, a region in Italy’s far south.

“I was worried about growing old in a country of non-readers,” he says. “Without a book, so often a child is alone. Carrying out such action has a value, not only social, not only cultural, but has a great ethical meaning.”

La Cava chose a Piaggio Ape van for its humble, homely associations, giving it a house-like roof: “As soon as you see it, it puts you in a good mood,” he says. “It suggests the idea of a refuge, of relaxation, which is what every book offers.”

Besides the library, La Cava also runs creative writing workshops and shows short films inspired by books, all of which underpins his belief that books and culture, as he puts it, are “made by and for everyone, not just a privileged few.”

If you have 5 minutes, this charming little video will properly introduce you to Antonio and the joyous smiles on the faces of the children he delivers books to.

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