Pimp my bookcart!

by Alicia Rudnicki, Library Mix

If you haven’t seen the MTV show “Pimp My Ride,” then you might flinch at a contest title such as “Pimp My Bookcart.” But in both cases, “pimp” is a verb referring to customizing an object—whether car or cart—to make it more stylish.

Four years ago, the innovative online publication Unshelved began its book cart decorating contest for school and public libraries. Smith System, a manufacturer of book carts, is the sponsor this year. October 31, 2009 is the submission deadline.

Examples of current and past entries are available at Unshelved. They include book carts transformed into a giraffe, motorcycle, train, hot dog stand, fire engine, football stadium, Model T Ford, mastodon, covered wagon, and many other ingenious designs.

Unshelved says that its contest focuses on “who can best pimp, trick, or otherwise improve” a standard book cart. Prizes include Smith book carts ranging in price from $342 to $571 as well as gift certificates for Unshelved merchandise. There is even a “special kid’s cart” category for which winning entrants receive “an Unshelved book and t-shirt.”

The cheeky Unshelved, which began publishing in 2002, offers free subscriptions and is “the world’s only daily comic strip set in a public library.” It takes place in the Mallville Library and includes Dewey, an irreverent young adult librarian.

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