MISSOULA — A family of book lovers decided they couldn't just sit back while the community faced the pandemic, so they put their book-loving brains together and created a mobile library for people -- particularly seniors -- who are struggling with isolation.
The project is far more than just a love of books and reading, it’s a love of the community that runs three generations deep. Mother and daughter duo Robyn and Hallie Gaddy were out on a walk, discussing the struggles of the pandemic when they had an “ah-ha” moment.
The two recruited Robyn’s mother, BJ Reed, and set off to organize a free, traveling library for folks who may not feel comfortable going out in public just yet. The trio has now gathered about 1,500 donated books covering a variety of genres and authors.
The second Wednesday of every month they set up their outdoor library at Pineview Park in the Rattlesnake. Then on the fourth Wednesday of the month, you can find them at Play Fair Park behind Splash Montana.
The bags of books make their way through town in a van borrowed from the owner Betty’s Divine. Robyn says they felt they needed to show up for their community in its time of need.
"My mom and I have backgrounds in education. And just, we see the value of reading and getting books, especially during this time of being inside,” Robyn told MTN News.
“And we also felt like it creates a sense of community and outing to go outside in a safe space we require mass when people come and look at the books,” she continued. “We spread them out on tables so there's a six-foot distance, no matter what."