« back to articles

I have a MBCZ!

Maybe you would like to make a Mobile BookCrossing Zone too!
by crrcookie
November 4, 2007
So what is a MBCZ (Mobile BookCrossing Zone)? Mine is a wagon that I can dispense books out of as wild releases at events. It also is great for hauling large quantities of books from book sales to my car and also provides transportation for my son who would otherwise need a stroller.

So how did this start? Back in April 2007 I went to the Kensington Book Festival and borrowed a friend’s wagon so that in case I had to park some distance away I would still be able to bring large boxes of books to the booth. We ended up parking the wagon right in front of our table and filling it with books to allow people to browse the books. It was cute, and fun, and useful! And the idea was born; now I just had to convince my hubby that I needed a wagon of my very own.

Along comes the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. this past September 29 and I knew I wanted to go, and I knew that I wanted to release lots of books and the wagon became a top priority. You see, I have to bring lilgrovers along (my 11 month old son) and there just isn’t a way to release 250+ books from a stroller. So I got to work on the wagon so that I would be ready for the big day.

I decorated the wagon with a yellow plastic tablecloth that I taped to the sides. I wrote www.bookcrossing.com on each side along with “Ask me for a FREE BOOK!” I added in some pockets on the front to hold BookCrossing bookmarks (both official and unofficial) and pamphlets and other info. I stuck an OBCZ sign to the back of the wagon and loaded it with books. Since I had to leave room for lilgrovers I had to work to find a suitable container for the books. I finally found something suitable and started loading them up with books. I wrote down the BCIDs ahead of time so that I would know after I got home which books were gone from my house. And then it was all I could stand to wait for the big day.

The day of the National Book Festival started out wonderfully. The van was loaded with the wagon, books, and baby supplies the night before. All I had to do was get up, get dressed in my BookCrossing T-shirt (that I made with a plain yellow shirt and a fabric marker) and head out the door after a quick breakfast. In DC there is no such thing as parking near the mall and so I knew that I would be taking the train. At the train station I loaded lilgrovers in a portable booster seat/highchair within the wagon (to keep him strapped in and comfortable), loaded two of the containers of books (approximately 125 books), checked one more time to make sure that I had all the baby items and important stuff securely stowed in the wagon’s underbelly drawer and took a deep breath! The train station was fairly easy to navigate with the wagon, not much different than the stroller, and I started to get attention the minute I boarded the train.

I talked to a woman on the train about BookCrossing and she took a book or two to read on the train back to New York. I was off and running and hadn’t even made it to the festival! As I arrived on the mall and started wandering around I had already given away books to the children on the elevator and a couple people who were waiting on the crossing signal for a street intersection. I was releasing books like mad. I had a ton of kid’s books so I went to the lines where children were waiting to have their pictures taken with various cartoon characters. I handed out books to the kids and some of the parents even took books. Then I went to the carousel and left books on benches and as I passed by some of the huge tents that housed various events of the festival I left books propped against the tent stakes. I was on a mission because I wanted to get rid of the load of books that I had so I could return to the van, head to a drive thru for lunch and give lilgrovers the chance to take a nap in the car seat since there was not much opportunity for him to do that in the wagon.

I arrived with the second load of books only a few minutes late for the 2:00 PM meeting on the steps of the Museum of Natural History. Here I was meeting up with other BookCrossers and LibraryThingamabrarians. We laughed and got to know each other as some of the BookCrossers took over the task of unloading the wagon full of books onto passersby. Why oh why are people so suspicious of anything that is free?

We walked around for a bit until the wagon only had about 7 books left and we were all tired anyways. We parted at the train station as we all took different trains back to our homes and that day was done. All that was left was to go home and make journal entries for all of the releases that had been done throughout the day.

The MBCZ has had a little bit of work done to it since that day in November. It now sports a coat of yellow fabric in place of the cheap plastic tablecloths and flags on the sides proclaim the URL and “Ask me for a free book!” The license plate is another flag of yellow fabric that proclaims it a “Mobile BookCrossing Zone”.

The MBCZ made an appearance at the meet-up in Panera Bread in Rockville on October 28 and it was well received. It attracts attention with its bright yellow color and there was no question to the BCers that were there for the meeting where they should look for fellow members. I expect that the MBCZ will continue to be a big hit and I am sure that I will get the chance to use it at other events and meetings.

Editor's note: This classy MBCZ reminds us of a few other BookWagons used in Akron and Charleston. We're headed off to look for a wagon for a mass release in our town now! Looks like fun!

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.