Happy National Bookmobile Day! If you haven’t been keeping up with my National Library Week posts, you might not have realized that there is an entire day dedicated to honoring the bookmobile. Yet, there is. And my oh my, it is glorious.
As a child, I lived in a neighborhood ten or fifteen minutes outside of a small town. My mom watched kids during the day and stayed home with me, but carting all five of us to the library once a week was a bit of an undertaking. I fondly remember Bookmobile Day. Each week at some anointed hour, the bookmobile would pull up on a side street in my neighborhood, and I would crowd in with the daycare kids and other kids from the neighborhood. If I recall correctly, I read most of the children’s books available at the bookmobile, and promptly started begging my mother to take me to the library on the weekend. I was a voracious book nerd, even at a young age, and I attribute much of that to my county’s bookmobile service.
According to a handy guide put together by the American Library Association, the first bookmobile service started in 1905 by Mary Lemist Titcomb in Washington County, Maryland. Titcomb wanted to expand library services across the rural county to give library access to people living outside of the Hagerstown area. Thus, she created a “Library Wagon,” which visited farms and homes across Washington County. The entire guide provides a great (and well-sourced) overview of the history and importance of bookmobiles. Give it a read if you have five minutes!
If you love the bookmobile provided by your local library, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to write a letter or email to bookmobile or library staff about how you feel about the service. If you’re feeling really passionate, you can visit the National Bookmobile Day Facebook page, Youtube channel, or Pinterest board (via the ALA). Social media is a great way to reach out and show your support to libraries!