An old hot dog truck without a bun or trace of ketchup in sight pulled up to the St. Ambrose Library filled to the top with books awaiting new owners instead of food. As strange as this may sound, the way the truck decided to come to campus is even more out of the ordinary.
Penguin Classics Publishing Company turned an old hot dog truck into a book mobile and brought it to the St. Ambrose Library on Sept. 27 to sell books to students and community members. Malavika Shrikhande, a tech services librarian thought this bookmobile would be such a great event to bring to campus that she did not stop posting on their Facebook wall until they agreed to come.
“We just kept posting and posting on their wall asking when they were going to come to St. Ambrose,” Shrikhande said proudly. “They had been to Chicago and we told them that St. Ambrose wasn’t that far from there.” She believes that this is a great way to prove that people can be very powerful and can accomplish a lot through social media.
The orange truck parked outside of the Library in the Cosgrove parking lot and opened its windows to reveal shelves and stacks of Penguin Classics, children’s books, fiction, non-fiction and young adult literature as well as a table of banned books. Shrikhande said that she was told when the bookmobile would be coming, and it just so happened to be during Banned Books Week. The truck was open for business from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with the first 100 customers receiving a Penguin Classics black tote bag. If this was not enough to draw students to the rare truck, there was also a special specifically for SAU students, faculty and staff. If students bought one book they could receive one Penguin Classic book free, or if they bought two Penguin Classic books, they received another one free. There were also free posters, cookies and lemonade available for students to celebrate their findings.
This was the first time the truck visited Iowa and will be its only visit in 2013. As ironic as it sounds to sell books outside of a library where people can borrow them for free, that did not bother the librarians at all. The goal of bringing the truck to campus was in an effort to encourage students to buy books and simply read according to Shrikhande. She said they were just lucky that the truck decided to visit at the end of Banned Books Week when the Library pushes for students to especially read banned books.
For any who experienced this unique form of a book sale, they can say that they have now bought more than just food from a hotdog truck and it was all thanks to social media.