Letter to supporters

June 6, 2011

Date: April 24, 2011

Dear Supporters of the Bookmobile to Cuba Project:

We want to share with you some impressions of our most recent visit to observe the Bookmobile in action in Granma Province, Cuba (see link below).  We arrived in Bayamo in January 2011 to spend time with the Bookmobile librarians and the many patrons of the Bookmobile.  We traveled with the library staff on the Bookmobile for nearly a week.  We visited 14 sites on the Bookmobile’s many routes during the school year.  We also met hundreds of patrons of the bookmobile in the several towns along its routes.  We met with teachers and librarians in their classroom and in the school libraries.  We also enjoyed numerous school childrens’ plays, songs, dance performances and delighted in their presentations on the books that they had read and liked.  Each one of them shared the moral of their story, or  — el “entendimiento que tuve con el libro,” i.e. the understanding I got from the book.

It was a great pleasure seeing the children’s excitement when the visiting Bookmobile arrived at their town or school.  The children ran to the bus, and shouted at their friends that the Bookmobile was there.  At times we encountered an entire school yard filled with animated students in lively discussions about the new books they found.

We were surprised to learn that there was a need for more children’s books.  Not only were the books showing high use, they were in extremely high demand, and at nearly every stop, the children’s books were ¾ checked out.  To assist us in refilling the children’s books on the Bookmobile shevels, we received a generous grant from the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.  We will use the grant and money from other donors (like you!) to supplement and help replenish the children’s book collection on the Bookmobile shelves.

If you would like to learn more about our trip, we wrote and presented a slide show (powerpoint) with a summary of the trip’s findings.  We presented this slideshow as part of a panel on Cuban culture at the City University of New York’s Bildner Center conference, titled “Cuba Futures:  Past and Present,” on April 2, 2011.   The powerpoint includes new photos and commentary about our visits to the schools where we recorded many students’ presentations on the books they read and enjoyed or learned from.

The most up-to-date information about our continuing support of the Bookmobile to Cuba Project has been placed on our Bookmobile to Cuba Blog at https://bookmobile.wordpress.com.

To conclude, we would like to mention our most recent project, the Young Adult Book Project (http://yacubaproject.wordpress.com/), for the Ruben Martinez Villena Provincial Library, located in Old Havana.  Together with the children’s librarian at that Library, we selected award-winning and recognized young adult books for the Library, helping fulfill the reading needs of young adults in Old Havana.  We will send these titles to the Old Havana Provincial Library, this summer through the 22nd annual Pastors for Peace Caravan.

We continue to collect donations and Spanish-language books from progressives, librarians, and xxx .  If you would like to support this project, we have a “wish list” of library materials listed in aLibris.com for future shipments to the Bookmobile, or send cash or books to our address.

With warm regards,

Dana Lubow, Librarian

Rhonda L. Neugebauer, Librarian


Impact of the Bookmobile Project on Library Outreach Services in Granma Province

April 10, 2011

Rhonda Neugebauer and Dana Lubow visited Cuba in January 2011 to study the bookmobile’s impact on the province of Granma. They presented a Powerpoint at City University of New York Bildner Center’s biennial congress Cuba Futures: Past and Present April 2, 2011. It can be seen here. Many of our photos taken during that visit are below.



The bookmobile, or a beautiful chapter of solidarity with Cuba

September 12, 2009

The bookmobile, or a beautiful chapter of solidarity with Cuba
El enlace es en español.

by Pedro Campos

Deeds like this always remind us that international solidarity can perform miracles.

Dana Lubow and Rhonda Neugebauer are two U.S. librarians who have written a beautiful chapter of solidarity with the Cuban people. By their own means and with the help of their other citizens, they acquired an old bookmobile designed to serve as a mobile library, made it function, decorated it, filled it with books and brought it to Cuba.

Perhaps for those who see the bookmobile winding along the streets and roads in the province of Granma, in the easternmost part of the country, don’t know the sacrifices and all of the work that Dana and Rhonda had to do in order to achieve that objective. This piece tries to give humble recognition to the effort of these friends of Cuba who, with their modest action but imbued with an enormous altruistic spirit, made a significant cultural contribution to the Cuban people and wrote a beautiful chapter of solidarity.

The story began to take shape on one of the trips that both friends made to Cuba to exchange experiences about the work of libraries. They communicated their ideas to colleague Eliades Acosta, then the director of the National Library, who welcomed them.

Upon their return to California where they both work, they set about researching the real possibilities of buying a bookmobile. In August 2006 they found a bus fitted out to function as a mobile library on an Internet auction site on the Internet. They entered the virtual auction and after several days participating they acquired it at a value of seven thousand dollars.

Since the bus was in Gentry, MO, in the middle of the country, Dana went to get it, driving it to Los Angeles, CA, a trip more than 2300 miles. Once the bookmobile was in Los Angeles they founded the group, Books for Cuba= Libros para Cuba and created a blog on the Internet to solicit donations, which would allow them to repair and paint the bookmobile and obtain the books.

In order to make the trip to Cuba they joined one of the caravans organized every year by Pastors for Peace to bring school materials and other material aid. The work was possible through the collaboration of many U.S. citizens, who gave donations and participated directly in the packing of books, painting, and repair of the bookmobile.

For the decoration of the outside of the bookmobile, Dana and Rhonda asked Gerardo Hernández to create a design. Gerardo is a hero of Cuba who is a prisoner of the U.S. government for fighting terrorism against his country.

In 2007 they made a first attempt to bring the bus to Cuba, but the bus broke down in Phoenix, AZ. Finally it was repaired and arrived in Cuba in August 2008 on the 19th caravan of Pastors for Peace—two years after having acquired the bus—in a demonstration of perseverance and self-sacrifice that deserves all the respect and affection of the Cuban people.

Currently the bookmobile serves the library of Bayamo in the province of Granma.

Deeds like this always remind us that international solidarity can perform miracles.

Infinite thanks to Dana and Rhonda, who let us know that any person can send a message to Gerardo very quickly by sending an e-mail to Tanya Torres, the radio programmer of “Cantos sin Fronteras” (cantosinfronteraskpfk@yahoo.com), who will read it for Gerardo on the air. Gerardo assiduously listens to the program every Saturday from 6-8 p.m. Pacific Time (9-11pm Cuban time). “Cantos sin Fronteras” is a Spanish-language progam of Latin American music on KPFK Los Angeles, which can be heard online at http://www.kpfk.org. Its first song is international music from anywhere in the world, and all music on the program always has social/political content. Cuban Trova is plentiful.

We take this opportunity to wish compañero [comrade] Gerardo a happy birthday, hoping he receives many messages of solidarity and thanking him and his other four companeros for their extraordinary example of integrity revolutionary fortitude.

Socialism for life

Havana, June 7, 2009

translation Dana Lubow 8-23-09


Cruzar la Frontera cuando la Frontera es un Bloqueo

March 25, 2009

La ponencia que presentamos en el Foro Transnacional de Bibliotecas en Tijuana México el 6 de marzo de 2009 esta aquí.


Crossing the Border when the Border is a Blockade

March 8, 2009

A Powerpoint presentation given on March 6, 2009 at the TransBorder Forum held in Tijuana Mexico is now available online.


The bookmobile in use, January 5, 2009 in Babiney, Cauto Cristo, Granma.

February 2, 2009

Children in front of bookmobile

Children in front of bookmobile

Adults using bookmobile

Adults using bookmobile

Children on the bookmobile

Children on the bookmobile

Girl with puppet

Girl with puppet

Boy looking at books

Boy looking at books

Bookmobile's librarians

Bookmobile's librarians


The bookmobile’s inauguration

November 30, 2008

Invitation to the bookmobile’s inauguration in Bayamo, Cuba, October 2008

Once again, reading will be celebrated, on this occasion thanks to U.S. librarian Dana Lubow and a group of enthusiastic collaborators who, through enormous efforts donated a bookmobile, whose valuable collection will be available to children, youth and adults in zones surrounding our city as well as rural areas.

You are invited to share its inauguration, an extraordinary occasion which, without a doubt, will be once-in-a-lifetime.

DATE: October 20, 2008

TIME: 12:00 p.m.

PlACE: Parque, Consejo Popular Francisco

Vicente Aguilera

Reparto Latinoamericano

Español siga la foto.

Bookmobile's inauguration

Nuevamente la lectura estará de plácemes, en esta oportunidad, gracias a la bibliotecaria norteamericana Dana Lubow y a un grupo de entusiastas colaboradores que haciendo enormes esfuerzos donaron un bibliobús, cuya valiosa colección estará a disposición de niños, jóvenes y adultos de zonas aledañas a nuestra ciudad y rurales.
Queda usted invitado a compartir su inauguración, una ocasión de lujo, que sin dudas, será irrepetible.

DIA: 20 de Octubre de 2008
HORA: 12:00 m.
LUGAR: Parque, Consejo Popular Francisco
Vicente Aguilera
Reparto Latinoamericano.