HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — Ever since she was a kid, Hutto resident Veronica Johnson has been captivated by books. Now, she’s driven to instill that same passion into children — literally.
Johnson launched Libros Bookmobile in October, a mobile bookstore that specializes in the sale of gently used children, young adult and adult books. She said wanted to create an ecosystem that nurtured the same love and excitement for books she had a kid, while also making reading more accessible throughout the greater Austin area.
“I’ve always wanted to have a book shop of some sort,” she said. “It was always that idea where, if I win the lottery, I have a million dollars, I’m going to start a bookshop. So it’s kind of always been the dream of mine.”
Currently, Libros Bookmobile is setting up shop at farmers markets throughout the region. Eventually, Johnson said she’d love to become a staple at local ISDs, even expanding to children’s birthday parties.
She often peruses thrift shops and secondhand stores for fresh books seeking new owners, and has become a mainstay at friends’ houses as they prepare for a move or are downsizing their collections. Often, used books can be discarded despite still being in good condition, Johnson said; her hope is that through Libros Bookmobile, they can find the next owner willing to give them the TLC they need.
When she imagined owning her own bookstore, she always pictured it as a blend of adult and children books. A self-described “big kid” herself, she said she’s always had a deep appreciation for the creativity and ingenuity of children’s literature.
As a mom to two children, that dedication to children’s access to books has become all the more important to her, she said.
“Because reading and books are such a huge part of my life, I’ve always wanted to instill that love of reading into [my kids],” she said. “And that’s kind of blossomed into having a little free library in my yard. And that just goes into making sure that other kids have good quality, fun books to read.”
As for the nontraditional business setting, Johnson said the combination of books and a school bus just makes sense — it’s like a food truck she said, but instead serves to nourish the mind.
And that format has become quite the hit with the kids in her neighborhood.
“I park the bus in our driveway and we have neighbors come up to us, ‘Oh, we love your bus! My daughters loves the bus,’” she said, smiling.
Currently, Libros Bookmobile is raising funds online to help furbish the interior of the bus and collect more books. Johnson’s visions for the bus includes dedicated bookshelves specialized by age group, along with a little coffee corner for people to enjoy a drink while diving into a new read.
For Johnson, she said people only need that one spark of wonder from a book to make them lifelong readers. If this bookstore helps them fall down that rabbit hole, she said it’ll be a success.
“I’ve always loved books,” she said. “So being able to take all of my hobbies — creating, being artful — it just kind of fits.”