The Zaan region is part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area and consists of a series of smaller villages. On their own they can't finance a full-time library but the 'bibliobus' is a viable alternative. Contrary to the more rural areas in the Netherlands, this region is densely populated and has narrow streets. As such the conventional mobile library with a trailer providing for 50 m2 of library surface was not an option; the vehicle would simply take too much parking space. Architect Jord den Hollander designed a smart solution. Possibly inspired by his youth memory of Gerry Anderson's TV series Thunderbirds he developed the 'Uitschuif Biebbus' or the expanding mobile library.
The book mobile is always placed near primary schools – the schools collaborate with the library service: they anticipate on its schedule, provide electricity and other facilities for the library personnel. This particular Biebbus in the Zaan region has twenty stops and remains at the same school for a whole day. Kids can come in during school time or during after school reading sessions. The innovative character of the bus, its sci-fi feel, fits the Zeitgeist of social media and online gaming. As such, it allures to the feeling of enchantment of entering an old-fashioned library space. The spatial design amazes children and seduces them to come to the Biebbus, to explore its books and to take time for reading.
On a personal note: I grew up in the rural northern part of the country and I remember feeling excitement for Tuesday afternoons when the 'bibliobus' would be in the village. It was the pre-internet era and the bus was a place of discovery.
Total surface: 52m2
Height: 5.75 m
Number of standing places: 20; 100 Meter book shelf; Over 7,000 books, 4 internet pc's on the panorama platform
Place for: 30-45 children