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Teacher-Powered Free Bookmobile Cruises South LA

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12th-grade teacher Claudia Cataldo stands among the books she's giving out to community members in South L.A. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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After the pandemic shuttered school campuses and libraries, Los Angeles Unified School District teacher Claudia Cataldo realized her 12th grade students were having a hard time getting new books.

So she revived a low-tech, old-school concept: the bookmobile.

She started delivering books to students from Santee Education Complex from her personal collection. Cataldo told us:

“I want them to feel like books can be a treasured possession and one of the best ways to escape from the negativity that's around us, especially right now. The books are theirs to keep. I don't want them back.”

Most libraries are still closed and the
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few that offer curbside pickup aren’t ideal for families without reliable transportation or access to the Internet to place books on hold in the first place. So Cataldo put out a call for donations and now her bookmobile -- a gray Honda Accord -- is practically filled to the windows with hundreds of books for people of all ages.

This Thursday is her last stop at the Central Avenue Farmers Market before school starts. She’ll be at the Crenshaw Farmers Market on Saturdays and will travel to just about anyplace books are needed.

If you’d like to donate books or request a visit from the bookmobile, find Cataldo on Instagram.

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