Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Praise of Bookmobiles

By Kathie Felix

National Library Week continues today, April 13, with National Bookmobile Day.

Nearly all of us have an earliest bookmobile memory. Mine replays a long-ago sunny day in the southwest U.S., as I stood on a neighborhood street corner with my mother and younger sisters. I can still picture my first look at the inside of that bookmobile – a most amazing place.

It seemed too good to be true when I heard that the library had a truck full of books that would be coming regularly to our neighborhood so that we could get something to read. To my great surprise and amazement, the bookmobile showed up exactly as scheduled. And, as I had hoped, it turned out to be the most fantastic – and convenient – place I’d ever seen.

To this day, I doubt I’ve seen a better idea for a delivery system. Although I’m a big fan of technology, e-readers just don’t seem to strike the same chord of wonder, possibly because I can’t actually see the books inside of them.

I think I will always remember walking away from that van on that summer day, as my five-year-old self imagined which books I’d stock on the shelves if that bookmobile was my very own.

In celebration of National Bookmobile Day, the American Library Association has posted an array of bookmobile-related information online at The content includes information on the history of the bookmobile, a bookmobile slide show featuring vintage images and a video of the Parade of Bookmobiles at the 2009 American Library Association convention.

Do you have a bookmobile story that you'd like to share?


Norma Huss said...

I was in high school when our local bookmobile started coming to the turnaround at the bottom of the hill, and even better, within walking distance of our farm. It came close to 30 miles to get there. (Of course, we'd made regular visits to the library before that as most of the members of my family were big readers.)

Linda Leszczuk said...

It came during summer vacation, when we didn't have access to the library at school. Our Mom didn't drive, so there were no trips to the big library downtown. It always stopped one block over, at the corner, and we could check out as many books as we wanted. It's been over 50 years for me and I can shut my eyes even now and see those beautiful shelves filled with books to take me away all summer long.

Msmstry said...

Oh, my goodness, the days the bookmobile came to our town were like a trip to heaven! Unfortunately, it came only once a month, and there was a limit of five books, But how I looked forward to the visits. I'd go home and read all five of my allotment before bedtime, but I never minded reading them again and again before the next BIG day!