The Bookmobile

Bookmobile History

On this page you will find articles on the history of the bookmobile, ranging from the story of the first bookmobile in the United States to the history of bookmobiles in individual states such as Kentucky and Ohio. You will also find links to other websites dedicated to the history of bookmobiles, as well as photographs documenting the development of the bookmobile throughout the Unites States.

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Bookmobile
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Documents Relating to the History of the Bookmobile



Articles


Crowder, Suzanne. "Wooden crates and women's clubs: Kentucky bookmobile and outreach services." Bookmobile and Outreach Services, v. 5, no. 1 (2002) p. 17-24.

Summary: A brief history of the bookmobile in Kentucky, beginning with the state's Traveling Book Project established in 1887 continuing to the modern bookmobile. http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.cwplib.proxy.liu.edu/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790
ec2704167a48af7d05125d1cef27309f39a5c3d84cfbe73f7ad6b6c9566b98b73&fmt=H


Levinson, Nancy Smiler. "Takin It to the Streets:The History of the Book Wagon." Library Journal, v. 116 (May 1, 1991) p. 43.

Summary: Traces the history of the book wagon. Its beginning in Maryland's Washington County Free Library under the librarianship of Mary Lemist Titcomb who created and directed the services of the `contraption'; Initial reactions to the wagon; Changes in the book wagon including the 1916 Koehler and 1957 book wagon with walk-in convenience; Effects on the popularity of the library; Uniqueness of Titcomb's wagon; Numbers of trips made; Motorized vehicles and new problems. http://web.ebscohost.com.cwplib.proxy.liu.edu/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=117&sid=82427db9-3ddc
-49fd-aa9a-4d2e30843dc1%40SRCSM2">


Miller, Bertha Mahony. "Treasure Island By the Roadside." The Horn Book Magazine, vol. 75, no. 1 (Jan/Feb 1999) p. 4.

Summary: In Jul 1920, a strange, hybrid vehicle headed out of Boston for a summer's tour of New England towns and villages. Bader describes the work of "Horn Book" founder Bertha Mahony Miller's Bookshop for Boys and Girls Caravan, from which books were sold, helping to inspire the idea of bookmobiles in New England. http://proquest.umi.com.cwplib.proxy.liu.edu/pqdlink?did=37968226&Fmt=7&clientId=18091&RQT
=309&VName=PQD


Philip, John. "An Overview of the History of Bookmobile Service in Ohio: A Mirror of the National Scene." Bookmobile and Outreach Services, v. 7 no. 1 (2004) p. 29-36.

Summary: A brief history of the bookmobile in Ohio, including an interesting memorandum dealing with early bookmobiles written by Electra C. Doren, Director of the Dayton Public Library, dated November 16, 1923. http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.cwplib.proxy.liu.edu/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790
ec2704167a48af7d0ed4528a8ea96a99859eae7b474a4e8744fd97974e6d095e7&fmt=H

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Websites of Interest


The first bookmobile, on WHILBR's website
http://www.whilbr.org/bookmobile/index.aspx

The history of the bookmobile in Durham County, NC
http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/services/outreach/bookmobile_hist.php

History of the bookmobile in Kentucky
http://www.kdla.ky.gov/resources/kybookmobiles.htm

History of the bookmobile in Dallas, Texas
http://dallaslibrary.org/100/Histories/28-LOW.htm

History of the bookmobile in Vermont
http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_4/mcshane/index.html#m4

History of the bookmobile in Clearfield, PA
http://www.angelfire.com/pa2/clearfieldbookmobile/history.html

History of the bookmobile in St. Louis, MO
http://www.slcl.org/branches/hq/extservices/History.html

The timeline of the Davidson County, NC bookmobile (1929-Present)
http://ils.unc.edu/nclibs/davidson/Bookmobile%20Timeline.htm

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Images of Bookmobiles Past

The First Bookmobile

Mary Titcomb
Mary Titcomb, founder of the first book wagon
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The first book wagon: Joshua Thomas and the book wagon.
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Children visiting the first book wagon. "The first wagon, when finished with shelves on the outside and a place for storage of cases in the center resembled somewhat a cross between a grocer's delivery wagon and the tin peddlers cart of by gone New England days. Filled with an attractive collection of books and drawn by two horses, with Mr. Thomas the janitor both holding the reins and dispensing the books, it started on its travels in April 1905...."(From On the Trail of the Book Wagon, by Mary Titcomb.)





Pioneer library book wagon
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Historical Bookmobiles of the Brooklyn Public Library


"Library on Wheels as of 2/66"
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A postcard showing the blue and white "Library on Wheels" bookmobile, with children holding books spilling out of doors; mothers and children watching from bench in foreground in Canarsie.
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Brooklyn Public Library adult patrons inside the bookmobile at an unidentified Brooklyn location.
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Brooklyn Public Library adult patrons inside the bookmobile at an unidentified Brooklyn location.
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