Welcome to Day 2 of the A to Z Blog Challenge where I will join other bloggers in writing thematic posts in alphabetical order. I am spending the month celebrating Library Love.
B is for Bookmobile
When I worked as a children’s librarian, I was always a bit jealous of the bookmobile librarian. I thought her job was the ultimate in book lover coolness –taking books on the road.
Bookmobiles have a long history dating back to the late 1850’s when books were delivered via horse drawn wagon. The first traveling branch library in the United States began its rounds in Maryland in 1905. The purpose was to promote literacy in areas far from library branches. It was a carriage pulled by two horses driven by the library janitor who also dispensed the books.
Eventually the books were delivered in a variety of vehicles and by the mid 20th century they had become a part of American life. Many people have fond memories of anticipating the arrival of a bookmobile. The librarians took pride in selecting books to deliver that they knew their patrons would enjoy.
Bookmobiles are still in service today. They are also found in various forms around the world. Books are not only delivered by bus, truck, or van, but also by animals including camels, burros, and elephants.
Here are some photos of a variety of bookmobiles. Head over to my Library Love Pinterest page to see more.
You can make your own model bookmobile designed by Bob Staake by going to this link.
You can even read about bookmobiles-
Here Comes the Bookmobile by Dirk Gringhuis (Albert Whitman 1952) is a simple story about a boy who joins his librarian aunt as she delivers books to children in rural areas. Definitely dated but the vintage illustrations are wonderful. I especially love the end papers of the bookmobile’s route.
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston,author, and Susan Condie Lamb,illustrator, (Harper 2010) tells the true story of Dorothy Thomas who loved books so much that she became a librarian. She married and moved with her husband to a rural area in North Carolina with no library. Eventually the residents convinced Dorothy to drive a bookmobile which they stocked with books they owned. She drove in all weather sharing books with the friends she made. This is an inspirational book which shows how one dedicated person can change the lives of others.
Biblioburro: a true story from Columbia by Jeannette Winter (Beach Lane Books 2010) is a picture book biography of school teacher and book lover, Luis Soriana. When Luis’ wife complains that books are taking over the house, he decides to take his books to those living in rural Columbia by burro.
My Camel is a Librarian: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World by Margaret Ruurs (Boyds Mill Press 2005) is a fascinating look at the amazing ways that books are brought to children in thirteen countries. Not only does the book show the ingenuity of people determined to promote literacy and education, it shares the varying cultures of the children who excitedly wait for books to arrive.
Mark your calendars for National Bookmobile Day and be on the lookout for a bookmobile!
Have you ever checked books out from a bookmobile?