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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Documents Relating to the History of the Bookmobile
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
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
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
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
Websites of Interest
The first bookmobile, on WHILBR's website
The history of the bookmobile in Durham County, NC
History of the bookmobile in Kentucky
History of the bookmobile in Dallas, Texas
History of the bookmobile in Vermont
History of the bookmobile in Clearfield, PA
History of the bookmobile in St. Louis, MO
The timeline of the Davidson County, NC bookmobile (1929-Present)
Images of Bookmobiles Past
The First Bookmobile
|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
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. Click image for metadata