This Tank-Shaped Bookmobile Is on a Mission to Spread Knowledge

Sarah Alender
This Tank-Shaped Bookmobile Is on a Mission to Spread Knowledge

Readers, beware! Buenos Aires-based artist Raul Lemesoff is taking over the world with his “Weapon of Mass Instruction”—a bookmobile shaped like a military tank. Lemesoff reconfigured a 1979 Ford Falcon into a mobile library and has taken it to the streets of Argentina to promote reading.

Credit: InHabitat Credit: InHabitat
Credit: Design Boom Credit: Design Boom

Featuring a fake gun barrel and a rotating upper chamber, the traveling library’s built-in shelves can hold about 900 books spanning multiple genres. Lemesoff gives the novels, biographies, poetry anthologies, non-fiction books, and other tomes for free to anyone who wants one.

A Literary Invasion

According to Lemesoff, the bookmobile is a juxtaposition of the militant and the peaceful. Though tank-shaped, its mission is to distribute books throughout cities and rural communities, creating social good by “transporting books, giving books away, collecting books, making a mess of people’s heads.”

Credit: InHabitat Credit: InHabitat
Credit: Design Boom Credit: Design Boom

Known and beloved in his social circles as a well-meaning visionary and eccentric, Lemesoff worked on the tank for several years before unveiling its design. Some of his friends reportedly thought he was working on his car or building a submarine, while others guessed it might be a spaceship.

Once revealed to be a mobile library tank, however, Lemesoff quickly gained recognition for his bibliophilic mission. For this year’s World Book Day, beverage brand 7UP featured the artist and his tank in a video as part of its “Feels Good To Be You” campaign, celebrating individuality and uniqueness.

Intellectual Warfare

Credit: Design Boom Credit: Design Boom
Credit: Design Boom Credit: Design Boom

In the video, Lemesoff says that his ‘missions’ are “very dangerous” and that he ‘attacks’ people in a “nice and fun way.” He says his primary target is kids (although he gives away books to people of all ages), and makes a point to encourage them to use their imaginations as they read.

Lemesoff doesn’t drive the bookmobile for fame or money, he says; he just does it because he has fun doing it and likes to make each person he gives a book to promise that they’ll actually read it.

What do you think? Will this whimsical, thought-provoking imagery get more people to read, or is this crusade a lost literary cause? One thing’s for sure though—the world definitely needs more inspired, quirky geniuses like Raul Lemesoff. Learn more about him here.