project leader
Laurence C
5443 Douglass Street
latest update rss
Thank You!

the project

Hello, my name is Laurence Copel. I am a professional Youth Outreach Librarian with fifteen years of experience. In 2010 I moved to New Orleans and started the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library.

I love what I do. Every time I give a book to a child and I get a heartfelt “THANK YOU” (from them OR their parents), every time I see their eyes open wide when they see my bookmobile. Every time I hear “It’s the book lady! Book lady, can I have a book?!” I feel joy. Joy to know not only that I have made a child happy, but also that I may be, in some small way, contributing to helping keep him or her in school, or interested in something, and maybe  in the long run, out of jail, which is not so far fetched  when you consider the fact that New Orleans has one of the worst high school dropout rate in the nation, the highest level of crime per capita in the U.S., AND  the highest number of people incarcerated in the world.

The New Orleans Public Library does not have an outreach department or a bookmobile. To try to alliviate this situation I ride once a week around the Lower Ninth Ward with an industrial front loading trycicle loaded with children's books which I give away for free to all children who desire one.

However, the tricycle can only hold so much, and between the condition of the streets, the weather, and my limited energy, only so much can be done. There is so much need in the city and so many children who do not have access to books or library services that I have been wanting to expand my outreach.

And then, two weeks ago, like an answer to a prayer, Ms. Jennifer Frances, of the nationally known Bess the Book Bus

GAVE me an amazing 2004 Mercedes Ryder van, fully equipped with shelves and even books! Now all that is left is to put this marvel on the streets of New Orleans.

If you believe that literacy can change lives and you want to share in the joy of making children's future a  brighter one, please help us out .

the steps

Pass my driver's test (wish me luck you all).

Register the van and get insurance

Get the children to create a design for the outside of the bus and find a local artist who can make us put it together.

Get a speaker installed on top of the bus to announce it's arrival.

Have a little backup  cash for gas and maintenance

Pay for police escort for the parade.

Optional but would really make my day. Find someone who could help me convert the van to run on bio diesel as well as regular diesel.

why we're doing it

New Orleans has one of the worst high school drop out rate in the nation, the highest level of crime per capita in the U.S., the highest number of people incarcerated in the world and no bookmobile!

While these things may not seem related, librarians know and research proves that children thrive when exposed to play and literacy at an early age, while parents and caregivers of young children who themselves lack literacy skills feel powerless in giving their children and early start with books. If we can put high quality, culturally relevant books in the homes of those who need it the most, we will contribute to making our community a better one for ALL.



Driver's License $    500
Insurance:          $ 1,900
Registration:      $    100
Painting:            $     200
Speaker:             $    100
Gas (6 months)  $    200
Maintenance     $  1,000

TOTAL:               $  4,000

SUBTOTAL = $4,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
3rd Party Payment Processing Fee (3%) $120


RAISED = 4155.00
ioby Platform Fee  35.00
3rd Party Payment Processing Fee (3%) 120.00



Thank You!

Your doantion will be matched!

Hello everyone,


I have wonderful news. The project has a generous supporter who has offered to match all contributions until the end of our run. So any contribution you make to our project will be doubled!!!



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Elephant and Piggie
  • Anonymous
  • Marta J.
  • Gretchen & David Zalkind
  • Katharine G.
  • karlan s.
  • Sissy Wiggin
  • Loye
  • Friend of Lower 9th Ward Street Library
  • Anonymous
  • Belinda Moody
  • Naomi & Scott
  • Anonymous
  • Happy Johnson
  • laurie
  • Sue Keefer
  • Zelazny family
  • Beth Butler
  • Start the Adventure in Reading
  • Linda
  • Letty Di Giulio
  • Molly Ruben-Long
  • Anonymous
  • Linda Mauskopf & Bob Larsen
  • Anonymous
  • Michelle