BiblioTaptap, Haiti’s first bookmobile service, launched this past summer thanks to Libraries Without Borders (LWB) and its partners (National Library of Haiti, the Haitian National Bureau for Books, and the Foundation for Knowledge and Freedom). LWB plan to launch two more before January 2013.
Named after Haiti’s “Tap taps” (“quick, quick”)—colorfully painted buses or pick-up trucks that serve as shared taxis—BiblioTaptaps are fulfilling a critical need for access to information and reading materials that has been ongoing since the devastating earthquake of 2010. The bookmobiles will circulate in the Port-au-Prince neighborhoods that were hit hardest; in Haiti’s north and center regions, the BiblioTaptaps will focus primarily on underserved communities where libraries are nonexistent and there is limited access to books. Every month, the service will reach more than 15,000 people.
The bookmobiles carry a vast array of some 2,400 fiction and nonfiction books in both French and Haitian Creole, as well as tables, chairs, art supplies, toys, and puppets for story time. The BiblioTaptap team also works with educational institutions to lend books in order to have a sustained positive impact on Haitian youth.