Bookshelf of the Week: Gabriel Levinson’s Book Bike

It’s not often that one gets to use the word ‘portable’ in the same sentence as ‘bookcase’, but with the subject for this week’s Bookshelf of the Week I very much do. I present to you the amazing Book Bike, the brainchild of Gabriel Levinson, former reviews editor for Make: A Chicago Literary Magazine .

That’s right folks, the Book Bike is a bookshelf on wheels – three wheels to be exact (it’s a custom-built tricycle) – and at the weekends during the spring and summer (weather permitting presumably), Gabriel can be seen pedaling this ingenious contraption around the parks of Chicago, bringing bookish delight to all of those who may be seeking it.

Recently changing tact to specifically promoting indie publishers and local indie bookstores (while keeping with the original purpose of promoting reading in general), all of the books which Gabriel distributes via his Book Bike – for free may I add – are bought through indie bookshops or directly from indie publishers. Relying on public donations to fund his noble venture (a venture which began two years ago in 2008), Gabriel has given away more than 3000 books so far, and his enthusiasm shows no signs of abating. During a recent interview for the Chicagoist, Gabriel made it clear that he wants to take his Book Bike around the parks in other cities around the US.

What a bookish legend Gabriel is and I applaud him with much enthusiasm. Who better to close this week’s Bookshelf of the Week then, than the man himself, showing in a recent interview for Shareable, what a true ambassador for literacy he really is:

I believe that one of the greatest gifts of being alive, of being human, is that of literacy. If you can read, your world suddenly becomes wide open, all knowledge is at your fingertips and there is no telling where that can lead someone in life. ‘Teach a man to fish’ is such a tired maxim. Why can’t the common phrase be ‘teach a person to read’?

You can keep up with Gabriel and his exploits at the Book Bike website, and on Twitter. If you’re in the giving mood you can also donate to Gabriel’s worthy cause. And if you’re thirsty for more shots of the Book Bike ‘in action’, then head on over to the Book Bike Flickr photostream.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Stujallen (Twitter: stujallen)

    sounds like a great project and very worth while ,all the best stu

  2. This is so cute. Keep up these beautiful bookshelf shots!

  3. Iris (Twitter: irisonbooks)

    I love this. I wish I could visit Chicago to see this bookshelf for myself. This must be one of the best ways to promote your love of books.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Haha..with the speed that Gabriel is promoting his Book Bike, you may not have to go to Chicago, Iris. He may well turn up at a park near you, in Holland 🙂