Once upon a time, the local library’s bookmobile would stop by schools to give kids access to newer books than they had in their own school’s (usually meager) library offerings. Theoretically, that still happens, at least in the few counties that haven’t eviscerated their library system’s budget.
That basic idea appears to have been taken by a Paris-based group called Libraries Without Borders and morphed into a frankly cool-looking thing called the Ideas Box that could be easily packed into cargo containers and dropped into refugee camps. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The so-called Ideas Box, designed by Philippe Starck, contains 15 tablet computers and four laptops with satellite Internet connections; 50 e-readers and 5,000 e-books; 250 printed books; a movie projector, screen and 100 films; chairs, tables and board games.
“We can rebuild ourselves by reading,” said Mr. Starck, who noted that he had educated himself by studying books rather than attending school. He designed the boxes in bright colors and said their arrival should feel like Christmas. “Inside, it’s not toys, it’s doors—doors to an open mind, thousands of different universes.”
In February, the first two Ideas Boxes arrived in refugee camps in Burundi, in partnership with the United Nations refugee agency, and plans are under way for boxes to serve Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
You can donate to Libraries Without Borders here.
Here’s the video: