Library announces St. Johns Reads for February


The St. Johns County Public Library System invites the community to join together in the enjoyment of reading and the 4th annual ST. JOHNS READS program.

The month of February has once again been designated for the ST. JOHNS READS community reading project, and this year activities will focus on The Camel Bookmobile, a novel by Masha Hamilton about a librarian who leaves Brooklyn to deliver books to forgotten villages in Africa.

The Camel Bookmobile is fictitious, but based on an actual Camel Bookmobile in Kenya almost a decade ago, according to the book publisher’s website To people in villages that lacked roads, clean water and food, books were “rare and precious gifts, allowing them to briefly escape the reality of squalor and destitution.”

Significant critical praise has been heaped on The Camel Bookmobile, being described as “a poignant, ennobling, and buoyant tale of risks and rewards, surrender and sacrifice” by Booklist and “captivating” by Entertainment Weekly. “Hamilton presents a rare and balanced perspective…using rich and evocative prose…highly recommended,” said Library Journal.

A variety of ST. JOHNS READS programs will be offered at libraries throughout the month of February, including keynote author talks featuring Masha Hamilton herself at the branch libraries February 27 and 28. Other events being planned include Dessert and Discussion groups, a presentation by Dr. Christie Koontz of Florida State University about literacy in third world countries and additional programs specifically geared toward children.

To prepare for the upcoming ST. JOHNS READS events, community members are encouraged to read The Camel Bookmobile, available now at the library.

Community reading programs have become popular nationwide during the past several years, and St. Johns County Library Director Debra Rhodes Gibson believes this is a significant event for the local community. “ST. JOHNS READS is a wonderful way to bring together people from across the County and provide residents with a quality reading experience through unique library programming for adults,” she said. “It’s like a book club for the entire County!”

Funding and support of ST. JOHNS READS is provided by the Million Penny Drive being held by all six Friends of the Library groups in St. Johns County. Additional support is provided by the funds raised during the inaugural Florida Heritage Book Festival (FHBF), held in St. Augustine during September. FHBF Chairperson Kathy Dvornick is pleased to provide $7,000 from the festival to support library programs.

For more information about Masha Hamilton and The Camel Bookmobile, visit For more information about ST. JOHNS READS or its upcoming programs, contact Library Administration at (904) 827-6925


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