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Southtown bus converted to library offers social justice collection

San Antonio Mennonite Church expands community outreach through books

SAN ANTONIO – A colorful and cozy spot of equal economic, political and social rights is now open in Southtown.

The San Antonio Mennonite Fellowship has finally opened their new library on wheels, the La Peregrina Social Justice Library.

The recently opened reading nook sits in the parking lot of the church next to its coffee shop, Café Cotidiano, and inside the bus are several shelves of books that had been collecting dust for the last couple of years.

“All of these books have been in the church for a very long time,” Katie Best-Richmond, pastor of stewardship for the church said. “This bus was a really exciting opportunity for us to activate this collection of books that we’ve had in the church and really be able to offer it up to the community.”

During the span of several months, members of the community like local artist Regina Moya helped bring the bus to life. Moya painted the exterior of the bus with colorful silhouettes of women. The idea to convert the bus into a library actually came from a client of the coffee shop.

“We thought, ‘Well, that’s the perfect idea,’” Best-Richmond said. “We already have all of these books to do it.”

The book collection focuses on topics of social and faith justice curated in both English and Spanish.

La Peregrina Library's book collection focuses on topics of social and faith justice curated in both English and Spanish. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

“We want to have books here for all ages, where the kids and adults can really see themselves in these books, in these authors, in these topics,” Best-Richmond said.

She hopes the La Peregrina helps to foster peace, unity and educate the community.

“I think that we can’t change our community unless we’re educated and we know our past. So, it’s really important for us to read and to learn and to gather together to know the history of our people, of our country, the countries that the United States has dealt with.”

Visitors can flip through the pages of a book that peaks their interest while sitting in a rocking chair or lounging on the couch, but there’s also an opportunity to take several books home to read.

“Our process is if you want to take a book home, we have a little journal (near the entrance) to (check it out) and sign your name, (phone) number and the title of the book,” Best-Richmond said. “So, it’s an honor system.”

La Peregrina is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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