Books hold a unique magic.
They build bridges where there is division and widened closed minds. Books put words to fantastical ideas and feelings we struggle to articulate.
In the words of Little Bus Books co-owner, Lynsey Pippen, “Books are an unobtrusive way to step into someone’s life and see from their perspective.”
And that is what Little Bus Books mobile bookstore is offering to Lakeland and its surrounding cities, the opportunity to see life from a different perspective.
In a recent visit to their new storefront, I (Jaunyce Priester, Development Associate) had the opportunity to learn more about the work of Little Bus Books. As I spoke with owners Michael and Lynsey, I was inspired by their intentionality.
You can find the Little Bus at various markets throughout Polk County, Buena Market, the Lakeland Farmers Market, the Winter Haven Farmers Market, Indie Flea, Bandit Market.
For each market, a collection of books is uniquely curated, and every collection is chosen with the intent of leveraging the customers’ existing interests to broaden their cultural perspective.
While I was incredibly impressed with the intentionality of curating selections for the various markets they visit, what moved me was learning that they were just as intentional with selecting books for their non-profit partners through their No Covers free mobile bookstore.
As the philanthropic arm of Little Bus Books, No Covers visits places such as Talbot House Ministries, Gospel Village, The Mission, Trinity Apartments of Lakeland, and Westside Ridge Auburndale. A small “bookstore” is set up at each of these stops and residents, students, and clients have access to a free selection of books. Just like with their Little Bus Books markets, the No Covers mobile store also selects books specifically for the friends they are visiting.
During our conversation, Michael shared that fewer books were distributed during their stops at The Mission. The team realized it’s due to The Mission’s focus on offering day programs for the homeless; the men and women in these programs aren’t looking for extra things to carry throughout the day. As a solution, No Covers began offering magazines, which allowed those interested to take reading material that was easy to carry.
For residents of Talbot House, No Covers offers a wider variety of reading entertainment options; crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, word searches, etc. Residents can enjoy their reading or puzzles as they settle down for the evening or if they have free time during the day. I was amazed when Lynsey was able to share the exact authors that Talbot House residents preferred. Excellence is not compromised.
Talbot House is privileged to have Michael, Lynsey, and their two boys (Luke and Nolan) serve as volunteers.
When you live in a shelter, uncertain of how to get back on your feet or when things will change in your favor, it’s easy to feel forgotten. The intentionality of Little Bus Books touched me because when they show up, through their actions, they are letting residents know that they are not forgotten.
The intentionality many of us overlook out of privilege is a gift Little Bus Books is giving to so many, a gift that is restoring dignity. Not only is LBB broadening perspectives through the gift of books, but they are also inspiring hope when serving vulnerable populations.
Check out all things Little Bus Books HERE on their website. Be sure to stop by the Little Bus at an upcoming market or pay them a visit at their new storefront located at 1047 E. Main Street, Lakeland.