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Help Needed for the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile

We’ve got this really cool thing in Sonoma County where this guy, Glen, gives away books. HE GIVES AWAY BOOKS. He started the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile with a trailer pulled by a Chevy Suburban. He did that for a year and a half. He would have to “lug carts from the back of the trailer to allow folks to peruse titles.” About three weekends a month, he and a volunteer, usually one of his children, would drive the backroads of Sonoma County, “stopping at senior centers, low-income apartment complexes and other under-served locations to give away donated books.”

After a year and a half, Glen was able to find a real bookmobile by trawling Craigslist. This bookmobile has built in cabinets and places for people to read. Quite the step up from lugging carts out of the back of a trailer so people can see what books you’ve got.

Why does he do it? In the words of a friend, “He basically loves books, believes fervently in the importance of getting books in the hands of young children and other people who don’t have the budget to buy books.”

Glen has since quit his day job and dedicates his time to running the bookmobile.

Cool guy, right? And what does he do for a living? He gives away books. We all talk about getting people to read more, but this guy IS ACTUALLY DOING IT.

When I contacted him recently to donate some books, he said he’s in dire need of young adult books because he’s down to his last reserve on those. Unfortunately, my donation doesn’t include any young adult books.

That’s where you come in.

I’m putting a call out to anyone who reads this. I’m putting a call out to all my blogging friends, who I know oftentimes have books they want to give away but don’t know who to give them to.

Send me your books! While I would take any books (adult books are always needed), children’s books (includes middle grade) and young adult books are really needed right now.

If you have books you can donate, send them to me and I will make sure they reach the bookmobile. Here’s the books that are especially needed:

NEEDS: We are in greatest need of current titles for youth and young adults, including science, music, art, nature, and popular fiction.  Please click here for a more detailed list of currently popular kids’ books (one-page Word doc).  For adults, our highest priorities are:

  • Classics
  • Art & Music
  • Science & Nature
  • Building/Do It Yourself
  • Dictionaries/Reference
  • Foreign Language (especially Spanish)
  • Humor
  • History
  • Philosophy

WE DO NOT NEED: Our patrons appreciate a wide variety of gently used books.  There are a few kinds, however, that don’t fit within our mission parameters.  Thereby we don’t accept magazines, encyclopedias or other sets, condensed, abridged, or ‘digest’ versions, tear-offs (books without covers), books with illegible spines, torn, damaged, or marked-up books, school textbooks, or out-of-date books.  Old books are often great – especially the classics!  Out-of-date refers to old books without practical value, usually on topics of computers/software, electronics/technology, nutrition, finance markets, microwave cookery, etc.  We don’t circulate other types of media (CDs, DVDs, audiotapes, software).

If you have a box of books you’re willing to send but don’t have the money for postage, I can PayPal the money over so you can send the books via media mail.

If you have some books you’re willing to donate, please email me at and I’ll send you my mailing address.

If you don’t currently have books to donate, you can collect books you find at garage sales and flea markets and send a bunch of them later. You could go to a bookstore and buy a bunch of books, knowing that your donation is akin to a secret santa.

Thank you for helping such a worthy cause!


Bookmobile website

Newspaper article about the Bookmobile

Another local blog mentioned the Bookmobile recently


Special thanks to Galleysmith and @book_chatter for their immediate support when I put an initial call out on Twitter.


25 Responses to “Help Needed for the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile”

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy) ()

    What a wonderful cause! I just sent you an email.


    trish Reply:

    Thank you, Kathy! I really appreciate it.


  2. zibilee ()

    This is so wonderful! I will have to see if my kids have anything that I can donate, and let you know! It will probably be after Christmas though!


    trish Reply:

    That’s totally fine! Thanks so much!


  3. Lisa Munley ()

    This is so wonderful! I checked out the website and while they are definitely in need of books, they are also in need of gas money, etc. Donations of money might be easier for people across the country to send rather than donations of books. I just gave my neighbor across the street 2 big boxes of books for her twin 7 year old girls last week. Wish I’d known about this sooner!! But gas money? I can send some of that!


    trish Reply:

    Cash is always welcome!


  4. Ti ()

    I am thinking that I should have at least a box but I will comb through the rafters and see what’s up there.


    trish Reply:

    Thanks, Ti! Thanks especially for mentioning this on FB.


  5. Jenn's Bookshelves ()

    Dude, I’m totally in. I’ll talk to the indie I’m affiliated with about setting up a collection box as well!


    trish Reply:

    You kick ass Jenn. Again and again and again. 🙂


  6. Jeane

    What a great thing this guy is doing! I have a handful of YA on my swap shelf I’d like to donate! sending you an email


    trish Reply:

    Thanks so much, Jeane!


  7. Cam @epiBloguer ()

    Wow, that is absolutely amazing. I’be never seen anything like that! I can’t believe he can do it full time, so awesome! I actually borrow a lot more than I buy, but I’ll have to look through and see what I have. =)


    trish Reply:

    I know! This man is a really giving person, and he worked a day job and did the free bookmobile on the weekends for a year and a half. Glad he’s able to do it full time now.

    Thanks for checking out your shelves to see if you have anything to donate!


  8. Jess - A Book Hoarder

    I LOVE the Free Bookmobile! I donated to it earlier this year (the company I work for was accepting donations on their behalf) before I realized they were in need of YA so I am hoping to collect some more.

    You are so amazing posting about it and even offering to pay postage! I’ll be spreading the word too.


    trish Reply:

    That’s really cool, Jess! Thanks for helping spread the word. 🙂


  9. Diana Douglas ()

    What a wonderful idea! I’ll go through my books this weekend.


    trish Reply:

    Thanks, Diana!


  10. rhapsodyinbooks ()

    Are ARCs okay?


    trish Reply:



  11. Claire Franceschetti ()

    I just love this concept, and I appreciate your efforts to spread the word on this. I’d love to know if something similar exists in the Toronto, Canada area.

    I look forward to watching for your ongoing posts!


  12. Michelle ()

    This is such an awesome idea. I wonder if there’s anything like this in my area. Very inspiring – thanks for sharing!


  13. stacybuckeye ()

    Trish, I don’t think I have anything right now, but I can look and sent it directly to them. This post has inspired me to think of the possibilities here though. Thank you!


  14. Erin

    This is great! My daughter has loads of YA lit and we will be dropping off about 50 books at the Windsor UPS store today for the Book Mobile. I am also including several of the early reviewer copies I have received and read form Thanks for the info!


  15. Commonplace Post (13) - Here There Be Books

    […] Help Needed for the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile: […]

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