Books on wheels: Noblesville woman adds bookmobile to Circle City Relief


By Anna Skinner

Having been an English teacher, Emily Jackson has always known the importance of books. But when she was signing kids up for a camp at Circle City Relief, an organization that provides necessities to a struggling community with a Christian outlook, she came across a boy who hoped to find a book.

“I met a little boy who asked me if Circle City Relief had any books to give away. I wasn’t familiar with them at the time, but they said no, they really don’t do anything like that,” Jackson, a Noblesville resident, said. “I suggested he check out a book from the school library, but he said he couldn’t take them home. It shocked me because we live in Noblesville, and my kids go to those schools and bring home books all the time. I didn’t realize (Indianapolis Public Schools) didn’t let kids take home the books.”

Jackson suggested a public library, but the boy said his mother worked all the time, and he had no way to get to or from the library.

“This conversation opened my eyes to how these kids in this community and other low socio-economic areas don’t have something as simple as books,” she said. “This little boy just wanted a book to take home and keep with him. That put the plan in my head, and over the next few days, I started thinking about it more and more.”

In August, Jackson reached out to her Facebook followers asking for children’s books to be donated. One month after the original request, she had 1,000 books. Every fourth Sunday, Jackson joins CCR to give out everything from baby board books to young adult books. She said she also has a small bin of adult books for those who are interested.

“On the outside, it looks like we’re giving away books, and we are, but these kids are hungry for adult attention,” Jackson said. “When they’re there, yes we give them a book, but more importantly we love on them. We take kids and read to them, and a lot of kids don’t have parents that do that. A lot of these kids don’t have anything that is their own. They can come through and choose a book to keep, and it’s theirs. There’s a pride and dignity in that for them.”

Jackson said she brings her own kids, ages 2, 3, 4 and 7, to the CCR Bookmobile each month. She said the entire experience is family oriented, and she is always eager for volunteers.

“The people coming there to be served bring their kids as well, so the kids all play together,” she said. “They can experience another culture. Here in Hamilton County, you have to look a bit to find diversity, so it’s nice to be out with people different than ourselves.”

Currently, the bookmobile is based out of Jackson’s van, but she said she hopes to obtain a trailer to do multiple bookmobiles throughout Indiana, as she has several thousand books in storage.

“We could have several bookmobiles in addition to the monthly one at Circe City Relief. I’ve been talking to a couple of organizations, and they’re like, ‘We would love to have a bookmobile here in our community.’ If we had a trailer, that would really mobilize it and reach a broader community,” Jackson said.

The bookmobiles take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at 3330 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis.

Donate a book

The Circle City Relief Bookmobile has a bin for book donations at Grace Church, 5504 E. 146th St., Noblesville.

“Anytime people can drop books off there, that’s a great way I get a lot of books and donations from schools and that kind of thing,” Jackson said. Libraries also donate books, and the CCR Bookmobile has partnered with Barnes and Noble in Carmel.