Ricardo Marroquin has been part of the Dream Bus team since it first hit the road in spring of 2019. The bus carries 2,700 items to a dozen or more locations around the city each week. Ricardo serves as a driver and the main point of contact for book recommendations, questions and all things library! Ricardo's passion for libraries was born out of a lack of library access when he was a kid growing up in Mexico City.
"I hope to inspire literacy and convey the importance of libraries. I never visited a library while growing up in Mexico. I remember libraries as an exclusive place where you needed to arrive with an adult and have good transportation," said Marroquin. "As you can imagine, transportation plays a huge part in visiting libraries and that is why I am grateful there is a mobile library here to ease those barriers for patrons who are looking for library materials."
His experience as an immigrant and Spanish-speaker has made him a popular driver for the Dream Bus, which often interacts with diverse populations.
"I realize that my bilingual skills in Spanish and English are extremely helpful because I can help patrons in both languages. For example, I can help adults and students who are in the Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) program or English as a Second Language (ESL) program," said Marroquin. "I also enjoy practicing and speaking my native language."
The Dream Bus features a diverse selection of materials, including some in Spanish and many written by Latinx authors. One of Ricardo's favorites to recommend (especially during Hispanic Heritage Month) is a juvenile non-fiction book called Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera. Ricardo also hopes to continue growing the collection on the Dream Bus to include more Hispanic literature, in particular poetry.
"I believe that representation of diverse authors, books and characters is vital, because it's important that patrons see themselves in stories and as storytellers whose stories are celebrated and needed. Especially for young kids!" said Marroquin.
Ricardo's passion for libraries is palpable, especially because he also serves as a driver for another bookmobile in town - the Big Red Bus run by the Madison Reading Project. Ricardo says he is drawn to both mobile libraries for the same reason - the mission to serve the community through literacy. He is inspired by the curiosity and learning he sees every day.
"I honestly think that the Dream Bus is such a cool vehicle! When I think of the Dream Bus I think of a safe space and a family-friendly environment where visitors can feel welcome. I hope that all patrons walk away with a good experience, with answers and with a library card," said Marroquin.