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The Dream Bus Library

Dream Bus Library

About the Dream Bus

Madison Public Library's Dream Bus distributes bags of books to children

The Dream Bus is a mobile library that visits a dozen locations throughout the Madison area five days a week year round. At the Dream Bus, patrons can get a library card, browse and check out materials, return items, place and pick up holds, and use the free WiFi.

The Dream Bus began delivering service in April of 2019. Madison Public Library, in partnership with Dane County Library Service and Madison Public Library Foundation, recognized that many Madison-area communities experienced barriers to accessing library services. The Dream Bus is a joint effort by all three organizations to alleviate those barriers.

The bus is 32 feet long, holds about 2,700 items that are shelved on each side of the bus with room for bench seating on either side and at the back of the bus. The collection ranges from children’s movies to Spanish picture books to adult non-fiction. ​

In the Community

Two African-American boys peruse books on the Dream Bus Library

Access to transportation is one of the biggest hurdles to library access for many Madison families. The Dream Bus faces this challenge head on by meeting people where they are. 

Madison Public Library is also committed to alleviating some of the financial burdens that can interfere with library access. This means staff have more flexibility with outstanding library fines than most locations. Not to mention there are no late fees on items checked out from the Dream Bus!

You can read more about how the Dream Bus Library has affected the neighborhoods it visits by reading the Dream Bus 2020 Impact Story.

Impact Story Preview

The bus is too small to allow for safe social distancing, but the Dream Bus drivers Jacqueline Stevens, Ricardo Marroquin, and a rotating crew of Madison Public librarians are distributing library materials to kids from a table outside.

“The kids are sad that they can’t get on the bus, but they’re happy to still be able to get books. And it makes my day to see them,” Jacqueline told us. She’s been driving the Dream Bus for over a year and knows most of the kids’ names who run up to greet her at her regular stops - stopping at a safe distance to wave, rather than coming in for a hug. 

While there isn’t the option for browsing and choosing titles, DCLS Library Assistant Amy Winkleman has made our jobs really easy by filling the Dream Bus with amazing, high interest titles. Madison Public Library has been able to supplement the collection with summer giveaway books from our One Book at a Time community grant. With books coming in brightly colored We Read/Leemos bags provided by the Madison Public Library Foundation and Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation and designed by Bubbler Artist Emily Balsley as part of the We Read/Leemos summer reading promotion.

About the Artist

The cartoon illustration that lives on the side of the Dream Bus Library done by artist Rodney Lambright II
Artist Rodney Lambright II designed the wrap for the Dream Bus Library

Rodney Lambright II

A cartoon explosion of ideas bursting from the pages of an open book is painted on the Dream Bus. The artist behind this colorful wrap is Rodney Lambright II, an alum of the Bubbler Artist-in-Residence program at Madison Public Library.
Rodney Lambright II is an illustrator, animator, and writer whose main focus is storytelling. Rodney graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Art and Communication Arts (TV, Radio, and Film) but would still consider most of the skills he’s obtained as an artist as self taught. He says school served more as a place that sparked his mind to further investigate his craft. Currently he works as an Animator and Producer at Wisconsin Public Television, where he has worked on several animated shorts, documentaries, and, more recently, video games. He has always gravitated to cartoons, using them as a vehicle to express honest narratives that expand beyond the reality that we see in front of us.

Follow the Madison Public Library on social media for Dream Bus updates, schedule changes, and more! 


Supported by

Presenting support from

Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Foundation

Continued support from

Dane County Library Service

Madison Public Library foundation

Oscar Rennebohm Foundation

Addition support provided by
Alliant Energy Foundation
Evjue Foundation, Inc.
Dick Goldberg
John Reindl
Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation