The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library

Help us raise funds for a trip from Houston, Texas to Gallipolis, Ohio in order to purchase this bookmobile.

About The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library

The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library (BPTL) is an aspiring Houston-based traveling library and bookmobile-for-hire.  By the time it starts up in early 2013, it will have been incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. In short, we are your bookmobile.

The mission of the BPTL is to foster multifaceted learning and cultural literacy in the form of access to books, music, videos, technologies, electronic resources, and other information services as needed in a flexible, mobile setting creatively and passionately managed by information professionals.

This mission is supported in a twofold approach: (1) as a traveling library - a standalone organization providing traditional and emerging library services at a variety of locations to a range of individuals; and (2) as a bookmobile-for-hire - a physical and information resource that can be utilized by organizations without adequate outreach and marketing services, including but not limited to public libraries, museums, schools, and local businesses.

As a bookmobile-for-hire, we will be offering our space, our time, and our professionalism (as "we" comprise of two librarians with MSIS degrees from the University of Texas at Austin's School of Information) at a very reasonable and negotiable rate to all mutually interested parties.

The traveling library will function on a rent-barter-donate system.  Rental will be based on an annual membership plan, and the price of the plan depends on the number of items you choose to rent at a time.  The basic plan is a $5 annual membership to borrow one item at a time.  The $20 annual membership plan will allow you to have five items out at a time.  Become a member on your first visit, check out the number of items in accordance with your plan, bring them back when you feel like it, take some new stuff home.

We also intend to make some, if not most, of our collection available for you to take home to own.  This is our barter component.  Throw something our way - cash, books, a sandwich - and we'll see if we can make a deal.  It'll be like Pawn Stars, but not really at all.

Our traveling library collection will depend heavily upon public support, particularly for in-kind donations. We will have donation receipts on hand, since all donations to a 501(c)(3) non-profit are eligible for tax deductions.  All donations deemed worthy of inclusion will be added to the traveling library collection, while those which are not will either be (1) re-donated to local libraries and charity organizations such as Salvation Army and Goodwill or (2) placed in our free bin, free for the taking.

Here is a breakdown of what the traveling library will have to offer you:

  • Books
  • Music (CDs, vinyl, cassettes)
  • Movies (DVD, VHS)
  • Wi-fi
  • Electronic resources
  • Free bin (magazines and such)
  • Book clubs
  • Mixtape trade
  • Open source catalog and reservation system
  • Tax deductions for in-kind item donations
  • Voter registration cards
  • Applications for membership at public libraries


Start-Up Expenses, How Much We’re Asking, & Incentives

While there are a good many steps remaining in the realization of this project, the most financially pressing is the acquisition of a bookmobile with which to house our traveling library. We have scoured the web for an acceptable used unit and recently stumbled upon one within our price range and to our liking.  Unfortunately, this unit is located in Gallipolis, Ohio, which, according to Google Maps, is approximately a 1,160 mile drive from Houston.  We have made arrangements with the current owner to hold it for us until we can make a trip there the week of Thanksgiving to pick it up.  What follows is a breakdown of the estimated cost of this endeavor:

  • 2004 Ford Cube Van Bookmobile: $8,995
  • 2 plane tickets from Houston, Texas to Columbus, Ohio via Southwest Airlines: $300
  • Car rental from Columbus, Ohio to Gallipolis, Ohio to Lexington, Kentucky: $100
  • Gas – 1,200 miles at 14 MPG ~ 86 gallons at $4/gallon: $350
  • Hotel rooms & sustenance: $200

From this campaign, we are asking for $10,000. The trip to Gallipolis and back will eat up most, if not the entire $10k, though before we launch, there will be additional expenses including, but not limited to:

  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Climate controlled storage space
  • Title, license, registration, inspection
  • Start-up (incorporation) fees
  • Custom truck design
  • Wi-fi installation
  • Printing of barcodes, business & library cards, and flyers

We have elected for the flexible funding route on IndieGoGo, so even if we don’t achieve our goal, we will still get (the majority of) what we raise.  Your contributed funds will go to securing the most important part: the bookmobile.  Any additional money we raise will be combined with our (very humble) personal reserves and go directly to setting up shop.

We are prepared to offer several perks to incentivize your contributions:

  • A contribution of $5 will merit the donor one year’s free membership under the one-item plan.
  • A contribution of $20 will merit the donor one year’s free membership under the five-item plan.
  • A contribution of $100 or more will merit the donor lifetime membership under the five-item plan.


Non-Financial Contributions

If you can’t contribute financially, perhaps you can donate a moment of your time to get the word out, or some space on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. This campaign is entirely grass roots, and it needs all of the help it can get.  If you feel that this project has value, please make it known.  Word-of-mouth contributions are just about as valuable as economic ones.

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