|This adorable bookmobile-shaped brochure from 1952 was to promote service for the library on wheels in the state of Maryland. According to Larry Nix at the Library History Buff Blog, the first traveling bookmobile service in the US actually began in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1905. It was a wagon pulled by 2 horses with enough space for 200 books on the outside and additional space for more books on the inside of the wagon. The driver of the wagon did double duty as the janitor of the library. |
Prior to the bookmobile, there were traveling libraries with small rotating collections of books which were stationed for months on end at convenient locations such as a post office, store or someone's home. This allowed for library service to be extended to rural areas across the US in the late 19th century.
Bringing books to the people has a long legacy around the world, yet it's unfortunate the bookmobile barely coasted into the 21st century before it became roadkill. Call me a sentimental old bibliofool, but I miss having a traveling library on wheels.
Hey Amazon! Give us an eReader shaped like a bookmobile why don't you?
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The Pocket Bookmobile
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"...it's unfortunate the bookmobile barely coasted into the 21st century before it became roadkill. Call me a sentimental old bibliofool, but I miss having a traveling library on wheels."ReplyDelete
I can guarantee you that bookmobiles are still rolling down the road throughout the U.S. and around the world. I'm a full-time mobile librarian from northern Utah, which has 9 state-run bookmobile programs and a couple of other county-run bookmobiles as well. Bookmobiles are an ideal solution for providing library service to under-served rural populations, especially out here in the wide-open West. We've broadened our services to include audiovisual materials (both physical media and downloadable versions), Internet access, and technology services. Bookmobiles are moving into the 21st Century!
We even have our own professional organization, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, which has members around North America and its own multi-day conference which rotates venues each year. If you have questions about the kinds of services that mobile libraries provide for their patrons in 2012, the ABOS email listserve is a great resource!
Thanks for your bookmobile-related posts! I plan to link to a couple of them on our program's blog and Facebook page. You can't get too much more 21st century than an online presence via social media!
Cache/Rich Mobile Library
Wow! That is really encouraging news! So maybe this makes more sense in this down economy to provide library service to underserved communities. I never thought of it this way. Thank you for setting me straight Shawn, and thank you for the links. What a great job you have!ReplyDelete
Happy book trails!