The Free Wheeler of Philadelphia

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In 1971 the Free Library of Philadelphia  launched the “Free Wheeler.” This small van provided “on-the-street library service” in the local Model Cities Area projects. The staff parked at street corners, set up an umbrella, and lent out paperbacks to the mostly black and Latino population. During the winter, the Free Wheeler maintained a series of deposit stations in barber shops, mental health centers, and doctor’s offices, among other places. Materials could be returned to any other station. The Free Wheeler also published and distributed pamphlets detailing local social services.

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