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Pushing the book cart

Library book trolleys - book carts in the US – come in a variety of styles but the majority do one thing but nothing much else. Great for moving a load of books from A to B – they are large, cumbersome and inflexible when not in use.

Libraries usually lack space, so empty trolleys lurk in dark corners, sulk on the ends of bays or glare balefully out of the windows and snag passing trousers. They lend a neglected, empty air to any library space, however glamorous. When in need of a solution, the web, as always, provides plenty of project ideas.

Here’s a winner of the Pimp My Book Cart competition

And a truly scary animal cover to disguise an empty cart.

Here’s a design idea created by some modern Merry Pranksters who have forgotten the books.

A stripped-down and rebuilt version is here used in an enterprising approach to bring a new audience to the library.
The German book cart of the future – according to a youth library group - needs a robotic arm for re-shelving and a rear view mirror.

Being essentially mobile, book trolleys have been effectively disguised as vehicles.

A neat mini me mobile

A police car with working lights

Some are truly mobile and work as pop-up libraries in themselves

Some are truly mobile and work as pop-up libraries in themselves

Of course you could just use the cart as a way to display the returned books so it never is empty.

But, be warned, if you go too deep searching for ideas on the web you will discover things that will haunt your dreams, and not in a good way.

For sheer entertainment value, explore the Book Cart Drill Teams in the USA. Watch the videos of synchronised waving, sedate twirling and wobbly reversing.

There’s a handbook for the beginner.

You might decide that your library has far too many trolleys. No doubt you are far too responsible a citizen to release them into the wild. However, should you ever spot a dumped cart you could learn a lot from a study that has been made of a related beast. ‘The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A guide to field identification’ by Julian Montague looks at the aesthetic impulse behind abandoning carts. It’s an attempt to explore the complex relationship between landscape and cart. Enjoy.

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